Dr Myrto SchaeferJoin us on Tuesday 15 November 2011, for a day of dynamic exchange amongst international child health professionals from around the world.

In the lead-up to the 7th World Congress of the World Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases held in Melbourne, Australia, hosts Médecins Sans Frontières and Epicentre welcome you to a one-day satellite symposium to re-think strategies of delivering care to address the key threats to child survival in resource-limited settings.

Despite some progress in the fight to decrease under-5 mortality, more than seven million children died in 2010 and most were victims of preventable or curable diseases. The highest mortality rates remain in sub-Saharan Africa where one child in eight will die before turning five.

Most of these deaths are avoidable. Almost half can be attributed to diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. A further 40 per cent die in the neonatal period. Measles, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are prominent causes. However, malnutrition stands out as an underlying cause in more than a third of all of these deaths.

The hospital is often literally the end of the line for a severely sick child. In areas where acceptable or quality health care is available, affordable hospitals are quickly overcrowded, skilled clinicians rare, and the risk of infection is ever present. Reducing the pressure on hospitals by providing adequate prevention and treatment outside them could help greatly improve the health and survival of children.

Thus old strategies need to be reviewed and new avenues explored. But more on-the-spot diagnostics and context-adapted treatments are needed for these strategies to offer something beyond the conventional primary health concepts. One example of moving care outside of the hospital has been the large-scale treatment of children with severe malnutrition on an ambulatory basis using ready-to-use foods.

This International Symposium on Reducing Child Mortality brings together experts on international child health for practical assessment of where the failures and successes of traditional approaches lie and to identify opportunities and alternatives in delivering effective medical care for children.

Registration is free and early booking is recommended to ensure your place.

Dr Myrto Schaefer
Head of Project Unit
Médecins Sans Frontières Australia

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