Reframe: Improving Child Survival

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Child in slum in Kampala (Uganda) next to open...
We need to find the stories of hope. The stories of possibility. Stories to reframe this narrative.

My last post was a month ago, but in that space of time I have covered a very large distance in many different respects. I wrote as I travelled from Sydney to London to attend the Commonwealth Study Conference, otherwise known as CSCLeaders. That trip proved to be a turn-key moment in gaining a new sense of clarity about this initiative.

It has taken me some time to process everything that has taken place. One month in fact. There is much to share, but here I just wanted to start with one brief comment.

I have reframed the 10 City Bridge Run following the input of many people and much reading over the last month. The emphasis, I believe, needs to be placed on child survival not child mortality.

Let me explain why:

  • Child mortality is easy to explain, and is a very tangible and very troubling measure.
  • The 10 City Bridge Run is an initiative about how we might use our networks for the better.
  • I have come to the realisation that together we cannot actually reduce child mortality. Larger organisations and countries can through their effort, but even then the reduction of child mortality is a lagging indicator of their success in something else.
  • Where we can have success is in improving child survival. Through increased child survival, the result is a reduction of child mortality.

This is a subtle shift, but an important one. It means the entire effort goes towards working out what we can do to save lives, rather than spending time recording facts about deaths. Yes, the two go hand-in-glove, but as for directing the efforts of a network, we are better focused on documenting what is best practice in child survival.

Already, there is good data. It is shared widely. But we are still falling short.

This is not about reinventing the wheel, but rather bringing the considerable resources of an extended network of bridge builders to bear on working out where we can best make change to improve child survival.

Just over ago in this blog, I wrote these words:

Changing the name doesn’t change the facts. We are still falling short, and there is more work to be done. But with a renewed focus, maybe at least we can have a clearer view on where our emphasis is best placed.

I didn’t recognise this insight at the time, but now can see that what I had instinctively observed. We are working towards compiling a sharable resource documenting best practice in child survival. This is our journey. Let’s go together!

This video, produced last year, explains this concept well:


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