Canada Supports Innovative Child Health Solutions in Africa

Canadian Janine Cocker greets Symposium participants.

Participants review country case studies.

The Ghanaian Minister of Health and other panellists at the opening session.

Canada is helping to build awareness of innovative approaches to address the three largest causes of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea.

“This is when the job of the Community Based Agents can be life-saving, as they can help identify and correctly treat symptoms of these three diseases at the onset.” - Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director General, Ghana Health Service

Canada joined with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Integrated community case management (iCCM) Evidence Review Symposium, held in Accra, Ghana.

The symposium brought together researchers, donors, government, implementers and partners from 40 countries to review the current health care landscape and to establish priorities, lessons and gaps for improving child and maternal-newborn health.

The event also provided the opportunity to assist African countries in integrating and taking action on key frontline issues.

As the main sponsor of this symposium, Canada’s opening remarks delivered by Cheryl Gopaul-Saikali reaffirmed that women’s and children’s health is a flagship priority for Canada’s international engagement.

Many organizations have worked with governments to implement and evaluate iCCM, notably UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Johns Hopkins University, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Population Services International (PSI), Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the Malaria Consortium, the MDG Health Alliance and Save the Children.

Canada has consistently demonstrated leadership in addressing child mortality. It was one of the first donors to support the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets.

Canada has been an early supporter and champion of iCCM programming including its support to the Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives, which helped to increase access to health services at the community level in six sub-Saharan African countries and combat the main killers of children under the age of five.

More recently, Canada has continued its iCCM efforts through support to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE) project, to train and equip community health workers to tackle diseases in hard to reach areas.

In Ghana, Canada is making efforts to improve the health of women and children, by supporting the Government of Ghana in community management of acute malnutrition, in the development of a national nutrition policy and in improving the delivery of sanitation and hygiene services in schools and communities.

Canada’s work in maternal and child health has taught us that strong partnerships and innovation in policies and programs are needed if we are to make a difference of the magnitude that is needed.