With 13.3 lakh under-5 children dying every year, over half of them in their first month, Government today launched an action plan aimed at reducing such deaths from 29 per thousand live births to single digit by 2030, ahead of global deadline of 2035.
Flanked by billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft- founder Bill Gates and representatives of WHO and UNICEF and USAID, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan unveiled the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) which also hopes to bring down stillborn deaths from the current 22 per thousand live births.
13.3 lakh of children under the age of five years die in India and 7.56 lakh of them in their first month. We have studied in depth the reasons for these deaths and come out with comprehensive solutions, he said, adding the ministry will tie up with its development partners to execute new policies.
While India has 17.5 per cent of the world population, its share in newborn mortality is a whopping 27 per cent. INAP envisages to bring down neonatal and stillborn mortality rates to 24 and 19, 21 and 17 and 15 and 13 respectively by 2017, 2020, 2025 before containing these numbers to single digits by 2030.
While Kerala already has neonatal mortality rate of seven, states of Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are behind, accounting for 56 per cent of such deaths countrywide. We are in touch with all states and will given them whatever they require according to their needs. It’s completely above politics and something that will bring together all stake-holders, Vardhan said.
Gates, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is especially active in poor states like Bihar and UP to boost child health care, said all children should have a chance to live and thrive and termed as great successes eradication of polio and control of HIV in India. His foundation, he said, is very excited by the commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vardhan to add new vaccines to the list of compulsory vaccines to children.
INAP spells out six key principles to achieve its targets including quality of care around the time of birth, convergence, partnerships and accountability. It will focus on eliminating any gender-based differences in health care. It envisages synergising the efforts of various department while partnerships aim at joining hands with academic and professional groups. It will also stress on accountability by regular audits and transparency.
The programme is in line with the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) approved at the May 2014 World Health Assembly asking the countries to achieve by 2035 reduction in neonatal mortality rates to 10 or fewer per 1,000 live births and reduction in stillbirth rates to 10 or fewer per 1,000 total births.
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