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African children face life without healthcare: report

Child is measured as part of nutritional screening and supplementary food distribution organised by IRC and WFP at Hagadera refugee camp in
Child is measured as part of nutritional screening and supplementary food distribution organised by IRC and WFP at Hagadera refugee camp in

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Hundreds of millions of African children will never see a health care worker in their lifetime, increasing their chances of dying from preventable diseases, a report released on Monday by the international children's rights group Save the Children said.

About 350 million children globally will never be seen by a health professional and nearly two-thirds of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, which has an acute shortage of health workers, the report said.

"Children are five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday if they live in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Liberia ... than children living in countries with enough health workers," it said.

Diseases that that can kill children if not treated include pneumonia and diarrhea.

Africa is training far too few health professionals and the poor pay and facilities mean many of the continent's doctors are likely to end up in urban centers or working overseas, it said.

The report was released to coincide with the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, where there will be a push to train more health care workers around the world.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Tim Pearce)

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