African Leaders Pledge to End Preventable Infant and Child Deaths

USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health Wade Warren addresses African leaders at the child survival conference.
USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health Wade Warren addresses African leaders at the child survival conference.
Jiro Ose, UNICEF

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Addis Ababa - From January 16-18, 2013, ahead of the African Union summit, the Government of Ethiopia convened a meeting of African ministers of health and global experts aimed at accelerating reductions in preventable child deaths through sharper national plans and improved monitoring and evaluation.

The African Leadership for Child Survival – A Promise Renewed conference, follows last year’s Child Survival Call to Action, which was co-convened by the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States with UNICEF and launched a global roadmap to end preventable deaths of children under five.

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The Call to Action challenged countries to lower their national rates of child mortality to 20 or fewer deaths per 1,000 live births by 2035 by scaling up efforts in countries that account for the greatest percentages of child deaths, strengthening health systems, addressing key killers with available  low-cost, high impact interventions, investing in education for girls and women and building broad-based political support for maternal, newborn and child survival.

The African continent shares a significant global burden of newborn, child and maternal deaths. Of the 3.5 million such deaths per year in Africa, more than one million are newborns. But some African countries have already reduced their under-five mortality rates to below 20 per 1,000 live births and fully 1/3 of coutnries will achieve Millennium Development Goal Four to reduce child mortality by 2/3 by 2015. Additionally 11 high mortality countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including meeting host Ethiopia, have reduced their under-five mortality rates by more than half over the last two decades. African Leadership for Child Survival effort is important to sustain the momentum well beyond 2015.

Setting the stage for the meeting, Ethiopia's Minister of Health Kesetebirhan Admasu said, "We are at a crucial juncture in our final sprint towards the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and the 2035 vision of ending preventable child deaths. Much will depend on country-level leadership and action on child survival... We simply cannot claim to have a strong nation if we do not reach our children with basic health services.”

Leaders will seek to give the global movement, Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, greater momentum and sustained the gains that have been achieved in Africa. Participating countries from all regions of sub-Saharan Africa developed or refined country action plans. and issued a Consensus statement (see below). Plenary Opening and closing speeches are below.

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Last updated: January 21, 2015

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