Child Health

         The Regional Committee,

         Recalling resolution WHA56.21 on the strategy for child and adolescent health and development;

         Recognizing that, despite overall progress in reducing child mortality in the Region, in the past decade progress has stalled or even been reversed in some countries;

         Further recognizing that differences in the child survival rates in countries and areas in the Region are widening;

         Concerned about the unacceptably high number of children that die from preventable and treatable conditions before they reach their fifth birthday;

         Reaffirming the commitment of Member States to the attainment of a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality by the year 2015 compared with 1990, in line with the development goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the United Nations General Assembly special session on children;

         Aware that Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child calls on Member States to implement measures to reduce infant and child mortality, ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children, and combat disease and malnutrition;

         Acknowledging that international cooperation will be needed if children's rights are to be fully realized, particularly in developing countries;

         Noting that interventions are available to reduce child and infant mortality and that the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is an evidence-based strategy that delivers these interventions in an effective, efficient and equitable manner, by focusing on the major threats to children's survival, growth and development;

         Further noting that similar delivery strategies could benefit the health of newborns;

         Acknowledging that IMCI has been endorsed by major development partners as a cost-effective strategy for improving children's health;

         Noting the need for strategic coordination among the various donor partners involved in child health activities at the national level;

         Appreciating the progress made so far in implementing IMCI in the Region and the urgent need to scale-up interventions in order to achieve the desired child health outcomes;

  1. URGES Member States, in particular those with high child mortality:
    (1) to place child health higher on their political, economic and health agendas, to protect every child's inherent right to life, and to ensure the provision of health care and medical assistance to all children in need;
    (2) to target child survival interventions on geographical areas and segments of society with the highest burden of childhood mortality and morbidity;
    (3) in countries implementing IMCI, to prioritize, strengthen and scale-up implementation of the strategy and, utilizing all available sources of finance, to provide adequate human and financial resources for the full implementation of IMCI;
    (4) to strengthen national health systems and service delivery, and, where appropriate, to include IMCI in ongoing and planned health sector reform efforts;
    (5) to designate, where appropriate, a national coordinating body responsible for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of child health activities, including IMCI;
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to continue to support Member States to achieve internationally agreed goals and targets for the reduction of under five mortality, especially in countries and areas with marginalized and poor populations with high infant and under-five mortality;
    (2) to develop indicators to assist Member States to monitor progress towards the achievement of the development goals of the Millennium Declaration;
    (3) to give priority to child survival and, in particular, to intensify implementation of IMCI in the Region;
    (4) to promote collaboration among child-health-related programmes and partners in health;
    (5) to stimulate the development of health care delivery strategies that are consistent with IMCI to improve the health of newborns;
    (6) to lead a new drive to reduce childhood mortality in Member States in greatest need, to support these countries to mobilize the resources needed, and to report on progress to the Regional Committee.

    12 September 2003

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