A call to action for child survival

June 22, 2012 by PATH

Conference mobilizes key stakeholders to end preventable child deaths

PATH joined hundreds of world leaders from government, civil society, faith-based organizations, and the private sector in Washington, DC, this month to launch a long-term, focused effort to increase child survival.

The Child Survival Call to Action conference was convened June 14–15 by the governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund. The conference focused on accelerating access to existing interventions to help end preventable child deaths within a generation.

Improving access to proven solutions

PATH and other leaders signed a commitment to scale up essential commodities for treating diarrheal disease and pneumonia. Steve Davis, PATH’s new president and CEO, joined a panel discussion on using research and innovation to accelerate progress. The conference also included a call for governments and partners to sign a pledge to work toward ending preventable child deaths. The pledge, referred to as “A Promise Renewed,” aims to hold signatories accountable for their collective progress toward this goal.

Child deaths have dropped by 70 percent worldwide over the past 50 years, thanks to high-impact solutions such as new and low-cost vaccines and improved health services. Yet thousands of children still die every day from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. At least two-thirds of preventable child deaths can be averted with existing solutions.

Ministers of health and other participants, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actor Ben Affleck, discussed ways to expand access to proven solutions, including oral rehydration salts and zinc to treat diarrhea and insecticide-treated bednets and medicines to combat malaria.

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