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Centre for Global Child Health

A Message from Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, Chief, Centre for Global Child Health

Stanley Zlotkin holding a baby in Ethiopia

I’ve shared in the past how fortunate I believe we are to live in Canada and to work in one of the world’s most diverse, multicultural cities. SickKids’ leadership and partners, including SickKids Foundation, helped to establish the Centre for Global Child Health in 2013 because of our mission as a leading Canadian organization dedicated to advancing children’s health.

This year, the Centre reached its fifth birthday! Though we have much to celebrate, we know the Centre is the same age as children in many parts of the world, who do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple interventions. Improving under-five mortality was one of the Millennium Development Goals (Goal #4) set out by the United Nations from 2000 to 2015. Resource-poor countries are still far from reaching the under five-mortality targets. However, progress has been made over the past few decades; since 1990, under-five mortality in the world has been cut in half from 12.7 million per year in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015.

A major focus at the Centre over the last five years has been addressing issues that prevent children from reaching their fifth birthdays in resource-poor environments. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, and the Canadian federal government’s Feminist International Assistance Policy in 2017, the Centre continues to expand our focus to address the critical needs of the most vulnerable women and children, not only to improve their chances of survival but also their ability to thrive in their communities.

It is challenging to summarize in just a few paragraphs all of the progress that we have made together as a Centre over the past five years. Our programs and projects have multiplied and our staff size has more than quadrupled since the start of the Centre. Each year, we welcome more students and fellows than in years past. Our collaboration with leading health professionals, researchers, policy makers and non-governmental organizations around the world has also grown rapidly. We have united with the common goal of improving the lives of children and their families around the world.

In just five short years, we have scaled up two of our flagship Capacity Building programs in Ghana and the Caribbean, and our Research projects have grown significantly to focus on priorities and challenges within the SDGs. These strategic research and global projects help our Centre to achieve its aims of innovation, knowledge synthesis and advocacy, and sustainable enhancement of human resources and technical capacity to improve outcomes.

We have encouraged the broader SickKids community to get involved and pursue ideas and strategies that will have an impact on women’s and children’s health globally. This January, we will host our fifteenth Global Leadership Series event, a series we launched in 2014 that invites thought leaders from around the world to discuss topical and timely global child health issues. Many of our members have been actively involved in global initiatives and partnerships focused on providing evidence and sharing knowledge, including in widely distributed platforms such as The Lancet Series. More than 5,000 individuals and groups follow the Centre and its members on Twitter, and are actively following our progress. We appreciate everyone’s engagement and contribution over the years.

As we wind down for this year, I hope everyone in our community takes a moment to reflect on their individual and collective contributions to the Centre. Though I have not listed them here, each one of you has been a part of this journey and have made significant contributions to the Centre, and to advancing the health of women, children and their families. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each of you, and wish you and your families a relaxing holiday season, and a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

 

Stanley Zlotkin, Chief of Centre for Global Child Health



 


Dr. Stanley Zlotkin,
Chief, Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)