A Global Conspiracy of Health
By Michael Gerson (The Washington Post)
In the category of stunning, heartening, woefully underreported good news: In 2000, an estimated 9.9 million children around the world died before age 5. In 2013, the figure was 6.3 million. That is 3.6 million fewer deaths, even as the world’s population increased by about 1 billion.
There are a variety of reasons for increased child survival, including improved prevention of malaria and HIV. But according to a recent report in the Lancet, about half of these gains came from reductions in pneumonia, diarrhea and measles — diseases addressed by vaccination. We are seeing the continuation of what is perhaps the greatest scientific contribution to human well-being: the artificial preparation of the immune system to ward off bacteria and viruses.