India is free from maternal and newborn tetanus

At Call to Action Summit Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government has identified 184 poorest performing districts in terms of health outcomes where special efforts will soon be made to dedicate resources in focussed programmes
India is free from maternal and newborn tetanus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded the efforts made in the field of maternal and child health through National Health Mission(NHM). The Mission, with its urban and rural health components — perhaps one of the largest public health programmes in the world — has resulted in improved health outcomes.

“India has successfully eliminated maternal and newborn tetanus (MNT), an infection that at its peak killed some two lakh infants and women in the country,” he said, while inaugurating the third Global Call to Action Summit 2015. The two-day Summit which was attended by representatives from 24 countries concluded on Friday. The summit is being hosted for the first time in India, and outside the US.

“Fifty-two per cent of India’s under-five mortality is contributed to by deaths of newborns in the first month of life. Under NHM, our approach emphasises a continuum of newborn care both at the community and facility level,” said Modi

Launched in 2005 as the National Rural Health Mission by then PM Manmohan Singh, NHM has been widely recognised as a game changer in India’s public health initiatives. The NHM came into existence through a Cabinet decision in 2013 and NRHM was subsumed in it.

Though the Prime Minister was always critical of the UPA’s policies, however on healthcare front, he praised several other UPA initiatives, including NHM, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK). Modi also praised the Maternal and Child Tracking System (MCTS) that tracks vaccination and other needs of mother and child through the mobile phone network.

The Prime Minister said, “The 24 priority countries participating in the Summit contribute nearly 70 percent of the preventable maternal and child deaths. For India, with its birth cohort of 26 million, the challenges are formidable but the commitment to succeed is also as strong.”

“What, however, does offer hope is that most of these deaths can be prevented through simple yet effective and proven interventions. This forms the key peg for this Summit,” he added. 

“India has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. The validation for this has happened much before the global target date of December 2015. This gives us the confidence to achieve other targets well before the target date,” Modi said.

“To sustain the efforts of being a Polio-free and maternal and neonatal tetanus free nation, and to accelerate the full immunization coverage in the country, my Government has added to the world’s largest immunization drive another mission known as “Mission Indradhanush”.We want to ensure that no child in India dies of a vaccine-preventable disease,” he added.

One of our major concerns is equity. As a step towards ensuring equitable health services across regions that suffer from intra-state disparities, and to bring about sharper improvements in health outcomes, a total of 184 poorest performing districts all over the country have been identified. Special efforts are being made to put in more resources and focussed programmes in these areas.

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