Turning an Action Plan into Actual Impact

Apr 24, 2013

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Eileen Quinn
Communications & Advocacy Director of the Vaccine Development program at PATH

We can prevent 95% of deaths from diarrhea and 65% of deaths from pneumonia by scaling up cost-effective interventions. How cool is that? That was the bottom line from US AID's briefing about the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD). Speaking at the event, Samira Aboubaker of the World Health Organization (WHO) invoked US President Obama's campaign slogan, “yes, we can.”

So, the next challenge is to turn yes, we can into yes, we will.

While the GAPPD from UNICEF and WHO maps out the key steps that are needed, it will be up to national governments to actually take those steps. They will need the help of civil society organizations (CSOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), donors, multilateral institutions, and the private sector. CSOs and NGOs have an important role in keeping attention on the GAPPD and its implementation. Because the effort now shifts to what will change within countries of high burden, PATH partnered with World Vision International to compile an Advocacy Tool Kit for our colleagues and allies working in country.

We hope the toolkit will help CSOs, NGOs, and other advocacy groups or individuals to advocate for the successful implementation of the GAPPD. In addition to concrete tips and tactics, it includes links to useful resources, and templates for creating effective materials tailored to local needs.

When our team first heard rumors that the work was underway on the GAPPD, we were quite excited. You might find that strange and suggest we need a bit more excitement in our lives (and you might be right) but what an opportunity to focus attention on these two leading killers of children under five and the solutions needed to significantly reduce the death and illness they cause. And it turns out, we're in good company with the over 100 organizations and pediatric societies expressed their enthusiasm by signing the statement of support.

We know from our work in Cambodia and Kenya, among other places, that governments are eager to bring together the right package of solutions to protect children from diarrhea and pneumonia. We are excited that advocates everywhere can use the GAPPD and the Advocacy Toolkit to bring these ideas to the countries and communities most in need.