Malawi launches campaign to accelerate child survival
By Felix Malamula
Lilongwe, 31 August 2012: Malawi yesterday launched a national campaign aimed at mobilizing the nation’s political and traditional leaders to commit themselves to reducing preventable child deaths.
The launch event drew together government, traditional, political, and civil society leaders and representatives of international organisations like UNICEF, World Vision, and Save the Children.
In her speech, the Deputy Minister of Health, Halima Daudi said every child should have the same opportunity to survive and grow, observing that ending preventable child deaths through giving children a healthy start could be one of the ways.
Daudi said the campaign, known as Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed aims at mobilizing political will, generating consensus around a roadmap for action, and identifying investments needed to accelerate progress.
“This high-level forum brings together an impressive array of public and private constituencies, to identify the smart investments that can be dedicated to one ambitious, yet simple goal - to end preventable child deaths," she said.
Speaking on behalf of international organisations, United States Agency for International Development Acting Team Leader, Miriam Lutz said the momentum generated by A Promise Renewed has provided the basis for renewed action and pledged her organization’s support to the development and implementation of national strategies for ending preventable child deaths.
“By joining A Promise Renewed, all partners pledge to take action to pursue this clear and compelling goal: ending preventable child deaths,” she said. “The government will lead the effort by sharpening and costing national strategies, development partners will support the national targets by pledging to align their support with government-led action plans, the private sector will spur innovation and identify new resources for child survival, and, through action and advocacy, the civil society will support the communities and families whose decisions profoundly influence prospects for maternal and child survival.”
The Malawi campaign is a follow-up to a summit convened in Washington, DC in June by the governments of United States, India and Ethiopia and in close collaboration with UNICEF where countries pledged to redouble their efforts to reduce under-five mortality to 20 or fewer under-five deaths per 1,000 live births by 2035.
Malawi is among a handful of African countries that have made tangible progress and is likely to meet the MDG goal of a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality by 2015. Among other goals, the Promise Renewed campaign aims to create awareness and generate action on child survival at community level through traditional leaders, lobby members of parliament for support, mobilize resources, build capacity at all levels to ensure that the gains Malawi has made are sustained, promote birth spacing, and use the media to generate debate on child survival.
After the launch, the five year campaign will be rolled out to all 28 districts of Malawi. In June 2012, representatives from each district will present their four-year plans for accelerating child survival and, together with members of parliament, traditional leaders, and civil society leaders, sign a pledge committing them to reducing child deaths in their districts and constituencies in the next four years.