An editorial in this week's issue highlights an upcoming conference on child survival that was called for in the 2003 Lancet Bellagio child survival series. As a result of the Bellagio initiative, progress towards improving child survival will be tracked in a series of 2-yearly rolling meetings, the first of which takes place at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on Dec 13–14. The conference is called Tracking Progress in Child Survival: Countdown to 2015.
The Lancet comments: "The fourth Millennium Development goal (MDG) documents the world's commitment to reducing by two-thirds the 10•8 million deaths of children younger than 5 years by 2015. The key to achieving MDG-4 will be a reduction in neonatal deaths, which represent 36% of this burden. The Lancet's 2005 neonatal survival series, found that a two-thirds reduction in mortality is within reach if only a few simple, readily transferable health-care interventions of proven efficacy are applied…Next week's conference, Countdown to 2015, will provide politicians, financiers, and health-care workers with clear opportunities to save one newborn life for every $2100 invested. Perhaps the only thing more devastating than the loss of a newborn child is the fact that that two-thirds of such deaths could have been avoided in a world that had the resources, but lacked the will to use them."
Also in a Comment in this week's issue, Jacques Sylla, Prime Minister of the Republic of Madagascar and Macky Sall, Prime Minister of Senegal, describe their respective country's commitment to child survival.
Source: Eurekalert & others
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