© 2002 Virginia Lamprecht, US Coalition for Child Survival
What would you guess is the leading cause of child deaths?
Most Americans in a poll sponsored by the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival guessed AIDS or malaria.
Celia W. Dugger/NYT
42 percent of Americans guessed that AIDS killed the most children. But the disease is responsible for only 3 percent of the 9.7 million deaths a year of children younger than 5.
Eighteen percent of Americans thought malaria was the deadliest, but it killed 8 percent, or about 800,000 young children.
Pneumonia, treatable with a 58-cent dose of antibiotic syrup, accounts for almost one out of every five deaths of children under age 5 each year. Diarrhea, treatable with 42 cents’ worth of oral rehydration salts, was the reason for 17 percent of young children’s deaths.
And more than a third of child deaths resulted from complications related to birth — a cluster of causes that includes tetanus (preventable with two 20-cent tetanus shots for the mother during pregnancy) and failure to breathe at birth (correctable with a simple mask and plastic bag device that can cost as little as $10).
Did any of you guess correctly on what caused the most deaths?