MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A new report is highlighting the alarming number of children in poor countries that are dying preventable deaths from congenital heart disease.
Congenital heart disease and other serious birth defects are among the top five causes of death of children worldwide. More than 1 million children are born with congenital heart disease each year.
In the report published in The Lancet, Children's Heartlink is calling for efforts to strengthen available treatment of congenital heart disease for children around the world.
With timely treatment of the disease, 85 percent of children can leave healthy lives, however, 90 percent of children with congenital heart disease live in poor regions of the world with little to no access to care.
"Increasing access to pediatric cardiac care is a lofty but not insurmountable goal," Brian Atwood, former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, said in a press release. "It is an achievable goal, grounded in health system sustainability and equity. It will save children's lives."
Children's death rates have been cut in half since 2000 due to improved public health and poverty reduction efforts.
Researchers are predicting that number will be cut in half again by 2030, the year the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals are calling for the end of preventable child deaths throughout the world.
Addressing congenital heart disease in children will go a long way to achieving that goal.