Ethiopia will host an international conference on maternal and child health on August 24 and 25 under the theme “Overcoming critical obstacles to maternal and child survival”. Initiated jointly by Ethiopia and India, the conference aims to “celebrate” progress to date, share best practices and identify key milestones for achieving the sustainable development goals set out in the Global Strategy for Health of women, children and adolescents (2016-2030), according to an official statement. The Ethiopian government “strongly believes that the efforts and resources invested to mitigate the major critical hurdles need to be strengthened,” Health Minister Yifru Berhan said on Friday. “We must celebrate our success, we also need a new vision, new targets and new borders,” said Berhan, stressing that “it is an honour for the government of Ethiopia” to host the conference to discuss key critical challenges to maternal and child health. The conference will be a good opportunity for Ethiopia to inform the world about its achievements in reducing maternal and infant mortality, said the Minister. The infant mortality rate in Ethiopia had decreased significantly from 97 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 48 in 2016. The under-five mortality rate had decreased significantly from 166 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 67 in 2016, according to figures from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016. More than 500 participants from 25 countries were expected to attend the conference, supported by partner organisations including USAID, Unicef, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NGOs and the private sector.
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