MSF hosts international symposium on reducing child mortality in November in Australia

The international medical-humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in association with its research partner Epicentre, has announced it will host the 2011 International Symposium on Reducing Child Mortality in Melbourne, Australia.

This one-day symposium will be held on Tuesday 15 November as an official satellite of the 7th World Congress of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases. It will bring together international child health practitioners to debate strategies of delivering care to address the key threats to child survival in resource-limited settings, a major global issue.

In the last two decades, practitioners, researchers, institutions and donors have all tested different approaches while working towards the same goal of reducing child mortality. Infectious disease, one of the leading killers of children, has been one of the main targets of this effort. While specialists from around the world are in Australia for the Congress, it provides great opportunity for MSF to gather the different stakeholders to take stock.

“Although progress has been made in reducing child mortality, eight million children died in 2009 alone, the majority from preventable and curable diseases such as measles and malaria,” said Dr Myrto SCHAEFER, Head of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia’s Project Unit.  “This symposium gives us the chance to discuss the successes and failures of delivering child healthcare, and to challenge current strategies. “

Looking beyond traditional hospital care will be a major theme of the symposium.  “In many resource-poor settings, the hospital is often literally the end of the line for a severely sick child,” continues Dr Schaefer “ 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.”

The symposium will take place in the Melbourne Convention Centre.

For more details and registration of the symposium, please visit