Virtual Conference: Accelerating progress towards the 2030 SDGs – Reducing inequities in child health

June 6, 2023 - June 7, 2023
An African mother holds her infant close in her arms
Photo: Kate Holt/MCSP

Currently 54 countries are off-track to achieving the SDG target for under-five mortality, and more will fall behind if we do not act with urgency. Against this grim reality, other countries have made tremendous progress in cutting back preventable under-five mortality showing that with determination and strong technical and political leadership, progress is possible. The Child Health Task Force is excited to announce its first virtual conference to unite child health partners around how we address health inequities to enable children across the globe and throughout the lifecourse to survive and thrive. 


Provide members with opportunities to share learnings and innovative solutions to address implementation and resource challenges across countries and community contexts. Participants will have the opportunity to network and inspire each other through virtual chat rooms. In addition, participants will build their capacity to tackle the biggest challenges in their countries through skills-oriented sessions. Through learning, sharing best practices, and building capacity the conference will strengthen the Task Force network to achieve its strategic plan outcomes. 


The conference will be virtual to enable as many Task Force members and partners as possible from across the globe to join the conversations and exhibits. The events will be over the course of two days from 1:00-5:00 pm GMT and include opening and closing plenaries, concurrent sessions organized around three thematic tracks, virtual booths for each of the subgroups including posters from subgroup members, skills-building sessions, and virtual coffee chats. Details will be announced along with the agenda closer to the conference date. The plenary, concurrent sessions and virtual conference site will be available in French and English.

Conference Objectives

  1. Identify key vulnerabilities and risk factors that perpetuate inequities in child health across the countries represented in the Task Force membership.
  2. Exchange promising and innovative programmatic and systems-strengthening solutions for reaching hard-to-reach children with lifesaving interventions.
  3. Share experiences, models, and frameworks for accountability, measuring, and evaluating progress in achieving child health equity. 
  4. Gather inputs to develop recommendations for advocating for governments, global partners, and donors to commit to addressing inequities in child health through renewed energy and focus on child survival and wellbeing.

Thematic Tracks

Across the tracks, presentations will showcase research results, emerging evidence, tools, program approaches, partnerships, policy action, financing, successes, and implementation failures that will foster deep reflection, provoke dialogue and spur action to reach the unreached children.

1. Defining and identifying inequity

Children born in sub-Saharan Africa are 12 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in high-income countries, a statistic that has barely changed over the past 30 years. We know these inequities exist, but in order to address them, we need to define, understand and identify children who are affected, including those in humanitarian contexts, crisis and fragile settings, urban slums, rural areas, caste, and ethnic or religious minorities, etc. Sub-themes include:

  • Government/community action to understand the causes of inequities 
  • Innovation/research in unmasking disparities including economic, social, political, environmental, and/or geographic factors
  • Understanding the inequities in health and development facing children in humanitarian contexts, crisis, or fragile settings.

2. Addressing inequities through strengthening Primary Health Care (PHC) 

Despite intractable implementation challenges and limited funding, some countries have made tremendous progress in improving health outcomes. These countries have strengthened the critical elements of the PHC systems as an inclusive health system. Sub-themes include:

  • Service delivery: examples of approaches and innovations in addressing the supply and demand side barriers including improving quality of care, health workers' skills, counseling, and behavior change efforts for preventive care and care-seeking. 
  • Financing the PHC and community platforms and referral care for underserved communities
  • Multi-sectoral action across sectors including public and private partners, agriculture, nutrition, WASH, education, and child protection. 
  • Research and innovation including digital solutions in addressing inequities.

3. Measuring inequities, monitoring and tracking progress

A major challenge has been establishing sustainable, quality mechanisms for measuring inequities and tracking progress. Sub-themes include:

  • Experiences in using frameworks and innovative tools for data collection to quantify and monitor progress to unmask and reduce disparities in the provision, access to, and use of services
  • Indicators for child health outcomes, service delivery, policy, and program advocacy, and accountability; routinely, integrated into national health information systems
  • Research results addressing child health inequities and demonstrating the effectiveness
  • Community engagement and use of data to advocate and demand action from leaders including use of score cards, etc.

    We invite any member of the Task Force who has original research or programmatic lessons to submit an abstract before March 30, 2023. Abstracts for all types of presentations should align with the overall theme of the conference – inequities in child health – and the objectives (above). The types of presentations include:

    1. Concurrent session (45 min) – 15-20 min oral presentation with 25-30 min discussion/Q&A, aligned to one of the tracks (see above)
    2. Skills-building event (90 min) – capacity building workshop focused on one of the following skills: proposal/grant writing, implementation research (designing a research question, data collection, analysis), manuscript writing, costing analysis, investment cases, financing, advocacy, resource mobilization
    3. Poster presentations – physical display prepared in advance and shared in one of the subgroup’s virtual booths. Posters must be aligned to one of the subgroup topics.

    Please limit your abstract to 300 words or less. Include a title (maximum 25 words), speaker details (if appropriate), relevance to the conference objectives, and the track (for concurrent sessions), subgroup (for posters) or skill (for skills-building events) it would address. We are accepting abstracts in French and English.