10 January 2013

Ethiopia: Nation to Host African Ministers of Health on Child Survival

Ethiopia is hosting a conference on child survival under the theme 'African Leadership for Child Survival--A Promise Renewed' next week, January 16th to 18th in Addis Ababa.

Ministers of Health from 54 African countries have been invited together with global experts to ensure child survival is placed at the forefront of social development agendas across the continent and to renew the focus of African leaders to head their own country's efforts and to sustain the gains made over the last two decades.

The conference is a sequel to the 'Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed' conference in June last year 2012 in Washington, D.C. This was an initiative of the Governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States, together with UNICEF, convening the 'Child Survival Call to Action'. More than 160 governments signed a pledge to renew their commitment to child survival and to eliminate all preventable child mortality within two decades.

Next week's conference here in Addis Ababa will further boost the commitment of states demonstrating a declining rate of infant mortality. According to UNICEF, since 1990, the number of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped by 39%.

Many African countries are now within reach of the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five mortality rate by two thirds. Nevertheless, even with availability of proven, inexpensive, high-impact intervention for maternal, newborn, and child health, adoption remains. High rates of childhood illness and death persist in a number of countries.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 8 children still dies before reaching their fifth birthday. Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros, whose leadership while previously Minister of Health raised Ethiopia's profile on child survival in the continent, will be addressing the Conference.

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