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Global health efforts make progress against child deaths


Friday, April 03, 2009

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 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.

The Center for Global Child Health is dedicated to improving child health outcomes through research, training and clinical applications. Cincinnati Children’s has affiliations with eight children’s hospitals around the globe, with discussions underway to expand to another six. The physicians are widely published and hold several million dollars in grants to research ways to improve child health.

The PAS meeting, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research and the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, is the largest international meeting to focus on research in child health.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of America’s top three children’s hospitals for general pediatrics and is highly ranked for its expertise in digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care and neurosurgery, according to the annual ranking of best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. For its achievements in transforming healthcare, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize ® for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases, so that children with the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions receive the most advanced care leading to better outcomes. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.

Contact Information

Tom McCormally, 513-636-9682, thomas.mccormally@cchmc.org