Victora, C.G., Commentary: LiST: using epidemiology to guide child survival policymaking and programming. Int J Epidemiol, 2010. 39 Suppl 1: p. i1-2.
At the turn of the millennium, there was a widespread feeling in the child health community that the over 10 million annual deaths of under five children were not receiving the attention they deserved.1 A group of concerned scientists and policymakers gathered for a week in Bellagio, Italy, to prepare a series of articles arguing for increased funding for child survival actions, which became known as the Lancet Child Survival Series. The second article in the series2 included a formal attempt to estimate how many deaths could be saved by each intervention then available. This modelling exercise took into account the levels and causes of deaths in 42 low- and middle-income countries, and the effectiveness of interventions against each of these causes, providing estimates of how many lives could be saved if then current coverage levels could be scaled up to reach all mothers and children. These calculations were carried out using a series of spreadsheets where the best existing data were inserted.2 The results were remarkable: no fewer than two-thirds of all under five deaths, or over 6 million a year could be saved if every mother and child received a handful of proven interventions.