Bangladesh may be India’s Nursery Teacher in Preventing Child & Maternal Deaths

CALL TO ACTION SUMMIT 2015 in Delhi on August 27-28

Bangladesh may be India’s Nursery Teacher in Preventing Child & Maternal Deaths

New Delhi, August 20: India will be among 5 countries to hang its head in shame for failing to meet the Millennium Development Goal in a two day summit of 24 countries starting on August 27 in Delhi and seek help from ones which have  done exceedingly well in preventing child and maternal deaths.

Bangladesh is on the top of the chart of such successful exemplary countries which can come handy in helping India in wiping out the blot of this failure.

In a pre-Summit media briefing today, C. K. Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Health Mission, said that India would have to change its practice to succeed in preventing deaths of mother and children. He further said without mincing words that the government is no position to make remarkable progress on this score alone, so India will need to go to global marketplace for private and corporate partnership.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India will co host the Call to Action Summit 2015 with the Health Ministry of Ethiopia and in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the Tata Trusts, UNICEF, USAID, UK Aid and WHO.

India is in need of the help of a country which has the best practice to end deaths of under- 5 children and pregnant mothers. It is highly likely that India will seek Bangladesh expertise from among the practices showcased in ‘marketplace’ by many countries during this summit.

Among the 24 participating countries, India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Ethiopia contribute to more than 50 percent of child deaths worldwide. India needs to learn from its small neighbor Bangladesh which has achieved highest percentage of decline in under-five mortality rate among 24 countries.

Eminent guests invited for the summit are State Health Ministers from India, international academic experts, health practitioners and global leaders from diverse sectors – corporate, civil society and media. Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Reproductive and Child Health), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, commenting on India’s progress said, ‘India has made progress in reducing child and maternal mortality over the years and we are committed to ensuring that the progress continues and the speed of change picks up momentum. We will focus on innovations that can be replicated and scaled up in other countries. This summit gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and give the support needed to mutually reach our goals and targets.

The Summit will be a platform for 24 nations and the Summit partners to deliberate upon the importance of Systems, Partnerships, Innovations, Convergence, and Evidence in ending all preventable maternal and child deaths. Under these themes, key topics to be discussed are health financing, corporate partnerships, game-changing innovations, accountability; and intersecting areas such as water, sanitation, and nutrition that play a pivotal role in the success of program delivery and impact. The Summit format has been carefully prepared to enhance engagement and make strong impact. Interactive panel discussions, moderated by senior experts; an interactive ‘marketplace’ where countries showcase best practices and novel approaches that have yielded measurable results; and other innovative communication tools to leave a lasting impression on visitors and delegates.

Mr. C. K. Mishra, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India adds, “The Summit is a global platform for participatory panel discussions amongst experts, development partners and policy makers. Its format allows us to share innovations and best practices and to learn from each other in order to meet the common goal to end preventable child and maternal deaths.”

Commenting on public-private partnerships (PPP) in health, Ms. Kathryn D Stevens, Mission Director (A), USAID/India says that, “The Call to Action Summit demonstrates India’s leadership and commitment to ending preventable child and maternal deaths in India and around the world. We look to the Summit as a valuable opportunity to take stock of progress to date and to align global efforts dedicated to meeting this achievable goal.” The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their deadline in December 2015 and ending preventable child and maternal deaths are two goals many countries in the world were unable to meet. The United Nations General Assembly session will adopt a new set of transformative and Universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, as a part of the Post–2015 Development Agenda. This is a good time to examine the degree of success India and other countries have had in meeting the MDGs and to see what lessons can be included in the design and implementation of the SDGs to build upon the unfinished MDG agenda. As far as India is concerned, we find that in 1990, India’s under-five mortality rate stood at 126 while the global average was 90. In 2013, India achieved an accelerated decline in its under-five mortality that dropped to 49 against a global average of 46, just 3 points away from the global figures. The annual rate of decline from 2008-13 has been 6.6%, indicating that India is closer to achieving its under-five mortality MDG target, if the current trend of decline continues. Similarly, India has been able to cut down its maternal mortality ratio from 560 in 1990 to 167 in 2013, which is much faster than the global averages of 310 in 1990 and 210 in 2013.

Mr. Girindre Beeharry, Country Director, Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation speaking on health innovations that are being implemented in maternal and child health believes that, “The MDGs have been catalytic in achieving significant global progress in maternal and child health, and the next 15 years offer an incredible opportunity to accelerate this momentum. To close the gap on preventable deaths, which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, we need ambitious targets, backed by robust implementation plans, which are regularly tracked for performance.”

Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UN Resident Coordinator and Representative, UNICEF is of the opinion that, “India has a strong government leadership in place and if India can continue to match the pace of policy changes with resource allocation and coverage at ground level, the change is imminent. In moving forward it will be very important to focus on the need for equity and ensure all interventions benefit all children and women everywhere in India. Making sure health services are delivered with quality and linking key areas of sanitation, nutrition and child development will be needed to achieve the best outcomes for women and children of India. If we can do so together, India will give the world one of the first big success stories in the SDG era.” Mr. Arun Pandhi, Programme Director, Tata Trusts offers a valuable perspective, “The first 1000 days between conception and age 2 are the days when we lose most of our children to morbidity and death. It is imperative that all our initiatives are targeted to address this issue, combat malnutrition and anemia in young mothers and the lack of quality antenatal care. The Call to Action summit provides a unique platform for different countries and stakeholders to share best practices and creates an opportunity for strategic partnerships to help generate sustainable solutions in overcoming these issues.”