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AIDS, malaria eclipse the biggest child-killers

Diarrhea doesn't make headlines. Nor does pneumonia. AIDS and malaria tend to get most of the attention.

Yet even though cheap tools could prevent and cure both diseases, they kill an estimated 3.5 million kids under 5 each a year globally ā€” more than HIV and malaria combined.

"They have been neglected, because donor or partnership mechanisms shifted their emphasis to HIV and AIDS and other issues," said Dr. Tesfaye Shiferaw, a UNICEF official in Africa. "These age-old traditional killers remain with us. The ones dying are the children of the poor."

Global spending on maternal, newborn and child health was about $3.5 billion in 2006, according to a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That same year, nearly $9 billion was devoted to HIV and AIDS, according to UNAIDS.

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