Quarterly Newsletter 2024, Issue 1

African boy sitting at his desk at school.


Dear Friends,

We are pleased to share the first newsletter of 2024, marking six years until 2030. It serves as a reminder that we need to prioritize transformative actions in each country that needs to accelerate progress toward the SDG target 3.2 of reducing under-five mortality.

In this newsletter, we share the outcome of our engagement at CPHIA 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia, where African public health leaders supported the CSA initiative. We also share reflections on the November Steering Committee meeting, a member spotlight, and a summary of the findings of the 2023 members’ survey, including progress toward the Task Force goal, the relevance of our thematic focus areas, and opportunities for improvement.

Discover exciting updates and join us in making 2024 a pivotal year in ending preventable under-five mortality. Become involved by actively participating in the Child Health Technical Working Group in your country of interest and contributing to the Task Force's efforts.

Dyness Kasungami, Director of the Child Health Task Force

Two illustrated figures of children dancing


Child Survival Action booth poster -  ending preventable deaths of children under 5

Last November 27-30, we attended the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2023) in Lusaka, Zambia. The event focused on “Breaking Barriers: Repositioning Africa in the Global Health Architecture,” gathering African health leaders and global stakeholders. Leveraging the opportunity, the Task Force sponsored a Child Survival Action (CSA) exhibition booth to raise the initiative's profile; garner support; and advocate for investment, accountability, and coordinated child health programming. We were pleased to connect with so many stakeholders, including ministry of health officials from Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Kenya, and Zambia and partners from Mothers-2-Mothers, GAVI CSO network, African Union, Africa CDC, and others.

Bottom Left: The CPHIA Organizing Committee visits the CSA booth at CPHIA 2023; Bottom Right: Dr. George Sinyangwe, Permanent Secretary of Health of Zambia and Dyness Kasungami, Task Force Director; Bottom video: Professor Fastone M. Goma, Registrar for the Health Professions Council of Zambia

The CPHIA Organizing Committee visits the CSA booth at CPHIA 2023; Dr. George Sinyangwe, Permanent Secretary of Health of Zambia and Dyness Kasungami,  

Key Takeaways from CPHIA 2023:

"I fully support child survival because this is the future of our nation. It is time for governments to improve the skilled health workforce looking after these little ones from birth until 5 years of age." - Professor Fastone M. Goma, Registrar for the Health Professions Council of Zambia

"In the world, in a year, 5 million children do not celebrate their 5th birthday. They die of preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition." - Dr. Luwei Pearson, Associate Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, UNICEF

"Child survival interventions are the cornerstone of human capital. As we stand here, 41 countries are behind their targets. It is very important for us to achieve these SDGs, we need to accelerate child survival." - Dr. Noel Chisaka, Senior Health Specialist, The World Bank

“No single entity, no single government, no single NGO, no single academic institution can effectively address the challenges we are confronting in isolation." Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General, Africa CDC

"Political leadership, professional leadership, leadership at all levels is core to optimizing limited resources." - Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia

Two illustrated figures of children dancing


Last October, the Secretariat conducted its fifth annual members' survey to gather members’ opinions on the Task Force’s direction, progress toward fulfilling its mandate, effectiveness across five thematic areas, resource/training needs, and interest in the CSA initiative.

Highlights from the survey results:

  • We received a total of 243 responses from 52 countries.
  • In the 12 months preceding the survey, the three subgroups with the highest participation were Nutrition; Quality of Care; and Emergencies & Humanitarian Settings.
  • Most respondents (74%) either strongly agreed or agreed that the Task Force is on track to achieving its goal.
  • The majority of respondents found the Task Force’s work in the different thematic areas very useful or useful. Advocacy saw a 15- percentage point increase from the previous year’s survey. Members mentioned the CSA initiative as a practical way of advocating for children.

Details on the results and action items can be found in the full report. Thank you to all who took the time to complete the survey!

Responses on Usefulness of the Task Force's 5 Themes of Work in 2023
Harvey balls of the results on advocacy, coordination, partnership with countries, learning and KMTwo illustrated figures of children dancing


Group photo of the steering committee


Last November 1-2, the Task Force’s Steering Committee (SC) convened for its second meeting of the year at JSI’s DC office. The Secretariat shared progress on activities from February-October 2023.

The SC agenda focused on:

  • Strengthening the Task Force by reviewing progress in implementing the strategic plan, and identifying barriers and solutions to implementation challenges at the country level.
  • Advancing the vision of the CSA initiative by providing input into the plans and strategic direction (short-, medium-, and long-term).
  • Strengthening the management and operational structure of the Task Force, including creative ways of convening the members to network, share knowledge and tools, build capacity to implement programs, and use member feedback to inform future directions.

Next steps that emerged from the meeting for the Secretariat were:

  • Clarify the relationship between the Task Force and CSA initiative.
  • Strengthen collaboration with immunization stakeholders including the new Childhood Vaccination subgroup, M-RITE, and CSA Advisory Group representative.
  • Expand partnerships with CH-TWGs, especially in partner CSA countries. Prioritize the most off- track countries while learning from those that have made significant progress.

Full details on progress updates and action items can be found in the full meeting report.

Two illustrated figures of children dancing


Profile of Akullu MirriamName: Akullu Mirriam

Country: Uganda

Tell us about yourself: Previously with Save the Children International. 

My passion is seeing a holistic child intervention that addresses and focuses on growth and development for the first 1,000 days of life. When this stage of growth and development is handled very well, many health challenges that children face can be solved.

What can we do to advance the 2030 Agenda? Bringing in many more stakeholders on board, especially policymakers, Ministries of Health, Education, Gender, and social development, plus development agencies and individuals who care about children's wellbeing. In other words, we need to increase our advocacy!

Personally, how have you found the Task Force useful to your work? It is quite engaging and its form of knowledge sharing has opened my eyes to do more on improving my approach on handling issues that affect children.

Thank you to all who completed the TF Annual Members' Survey. Akullu Mirriam was selected as the featured 2023 winner.

Two illustrated figures of children dancing


iCCM icon

Childhood Vaccination         
The subgroup selected three co-chairs: Dr. Jolem Mwanje, Impact Health Organization; Dr. Oumar Diallo, RAISE 4 Sahel Project, World Vision; and Dr. Revati Phalkey, Save the Children, and hosted a meeting on January 29th to introduce the new chairs and discuss priorities for the year.

Child health in emergencies and humanitarian settings subgroup

Emergencies and Humanitarian Settings         
The subgroup continued to emphasize the burden of child mortality in fragile, conflict-affected, and vulnerable settings and co-hosted a three-part webinar series on Strengthening Nurturing Care in Humanitarian Response.

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Institutionalizing iCCM         
The subgroup co-hosted with the Newborn and Child Health Commodities subgroup a webinar, Institutionalizing Supply Chains for Community Case Management, where experts discussed challenges and potential solutions for community-level supply chains.

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Monitoring & Evaluation          
The subgroup continued to lead the development of the CSA Results and Accountability framework and finalized a list of impact and outcome indicators. They are also collaborating with other CSA action teams to develop a CSA country toolkit as part of implementation milestones work.

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Nutrition and Child Health         
In December, the subgroup hosted a webinar on Integration of ECD Interventions into Health and Nutrition Services: Experiences from Ethiopia and Mozambique. The webinar covered the Nurturing Care Group Model, implemented by USAID’s Strengthen Productive Safety Net Program and Resilience II and the integration of ECD interventions in Transform Nutrition’s nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene activities.

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Private Sector Engagement         
The subgroup prioritized collaborating with country teams to share lessons and challenges regarding market development interventions to increase service, product, and information access. The subgroup hosted two webinars, focusing on this priority – The Market Development Approach: Lessons from The Frontier Health Markets Engage Project in Tanzania and Sharing PPMV Engagement and Quality of Care Lessons Learned from Integrated Health Program Nigeria.

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Quality of Care         
Continuing its collaboration with the Quality of Care Network, the subgroup co-hosted Lessons from Sierra Leone and Kenya on the process for integrating pediatric quality of care indicators in the national health information system. On October 31, the subgroup hosted another webinar, Strengthening the Quality of Nutrition, Responsive Care, and Early Learning in Health Systems: Resources and Learning from USAID Advancing Nutrition.

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Re-imagining the Package of Care for Children         
On October 13, the subgroup wrapped up their Adapting Health Systems to Protect Children from the Impact of Climate Change Series, co-hosted with UNICEF and Global Communities. The last session focused on early warning systems.

Join individual subgroup mailing lists by completing this brief online form.

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Task Force Events

Recordings of previous Task-Force-hosted events can be found on our Events Page.

Partner Events

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