India is free of maternal and neonatal tetanus: PM

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The country has achieved under-five mortality rate decline at an accelerated pace compared to the global rate of decline and India is likely to reach close to achieving the MDG target, says the PM

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the two-day “Call to Action Summit-2015-ending preventable child and maternal deaths” in New Delhi. The event was organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and the Ministry of Health, Government of Ethiopia.

According to a PIB release, the Prime Minister in his inaugural address said that India has made several notable achievements in the healthcare sector especially in maternal and child health in the recent years. He said, “The country has achieved under-five mortality rate decline at an accelerated pace compared to the global rate of decline and India is likely to reach close to achieving the MDG target, if the current trend of annual decline is sustained. After the victory over polio, India has achieved another major milestone recently. India has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.”

Speaking at the occasion, JP Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare drew attention to the impressive practices India can share with other countries. He renewed India’s pledge and commitment to ending preventable mother and child deaths.

Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia, co-host of the summit mentioned that factors such as health systems, ensuring universal access to primary healthcare, leveraging on international support and funding, robust community ownership, and sharing of knowledge and experience have helped to reach a large population. Ethiopia has set out ambitious goals for equity and goals for transformation of health sector, the Minister stated. There has been remarkable expansion of health facilities and services to address inequalities and inequity, he added.

BP Sharma, Secretary, MohFW, in his address highlighted the impressive achievements India has made in the area of maternal and child healthcare. He stated that the rate of decline that India has pursued in reducing IMR and MMR, is faster than the global pace of decline. He noted that these achievements strongly reflect a strong political will, sound strategies, focused polices, rigorous implementation framework, sturdy structures of monitoring and evaluation, and focus on health systems strengthening for effective health outcomes.

The speakers present during the inaugural session were Mark Suzman, President, Global Policy and Advocacy and Country programmes, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, Alfonso E Lenhardt, Acting Administrator, USAID, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director General, WHO-SEARO, Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, CK Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director (National Health Mission), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The 3rd Global Call to Action 2015 was hosted for the first time in India, and outside the US. As many as 24 high priority countries participated during the two-day summit. These were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

EP News BureauMumbai

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