Recent initiatives in global health make progress against child deaths

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Recent initiatives in global health have made significant advances in knowledge, prevention and reduction of diseases affecting children in low-income countries.

Those advances will be the subject of discussion on Sunday, May 3, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore. The discussion will be led by Mark C. Steinhoff, MD, director of the Center for Global Child Health Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Jennifer Read of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Steinhoff will present some of his own research -- on the reduction in pneumonia mortality -- as well as chair the remainder of the session that will focus on key advances in the other three major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality: malaria, neonatal disease and vitamin D deficiency.

The vitamin D work will be presented by another Cincinnati Children's Global Health physician, Adekunle H. Dawodu, MD. His work suggests that a deficiency of vitamin D -- which is essential for normal body calcium and bone health and has been implicated in other physiologic functions and health benefits -- is a serious global health problem in women and children and in populations where sunshine exposure is limited and vitamin D intake is poor. Dr. Dawodu will discuss a new approach to reducing the problems with maternal vitamin D supplementation.

Dr. Dawodu will also chair a session on neonatology at the PAS meeting.

A third doctor from the Cincinnati Children's Global Health division, Steven Black, MD, will moderate a session on immunization delivery.

In addition, Dr. Steinhoff will present two other pieces of research during PAS. Both focus on pneumonia and vaccinations and their association with weight gain in infants in low-income countries. His findings are that children who receive pneumococcal vaccine in Bangladesh tend to grow better than children who do not receive it.

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