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About SickKids

March 26, 2014

Insightful discussions about global child health at Cafe Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique Global Child Health

By: Rebecca Milec & Justin Faiola

The Hard Rock Café was full of life on March 19, but not because of rock and roll music. Instead, guests pulled up a chair and came together to learn about the health of children around the world at SickKids Café Scientifique.

Moderator John Kirton from the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, anchored the evening’s discussions with wit and knowledgeable facts.  Panel experts including Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, Chief, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Robert Harding Chair and Director of Research at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Dr. Daniel Roth, SickKids Clinician-Scientist, and Rebecca Harry, Program Officer at Save the Children Canada, quickly grabbed the crowd’s attention by focusing on key global issues affecting children’s health.

Bhutta highlighted the progress that has been made to reduce the number of preventable childhood deaths, from causes such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), global initiatives have saved millions of children’s lives, demonstrating an immense international effort. The panel agreed that despite huge progress, there was still work to be done. Since 2002 global initiatives have saved the lives of four million children each year, going from 10 million preventable child deaths a year to six million.

“The integration of maternal and child health is key to prevent newborn deaths in low and middle-income countries,” says Bhutta. For older children “preventive strategies such as vaccinations, sanitation, nutrition and also appropriate detection and management of illnesses are four ways we can save these children’s lives.”

After some insightful remarks from the panelists, the floor was opened up to the audience, many of whom were seeking perspectives on challenges surrounding strengthening health care systems and the future surrounding the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. These important topics brought about exciting discussion between guests and panelists on how to improve the state of global child health moving forward.

“By working together and solving problems step-by-step, we can make a difference,” said Zlotkin. “You shouldn’t feel the problem is too big for you to solve. Each of us has a role to play in making children healthier, worldwide.”

Café Scientifique makes science accessible to the general public in a fun and engaging way. Scientific advances are demystified and debated with interaction between experts and the audience, in a relaxed atmosphere full of intelligent conversation.

SickKids Café Scientifique is supported by the SickKids Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.  Look out for the next Café Scientifique event by checking the SickKids events calendar!