India to host Summit on Child and Maternal Mortality

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the global summit where ministers of health and delegates from as many as 24 countries will be sharing best practices and forge alliances on preventable child and maternal deaths
India to host Summit on Child and Maternal Mortality

Ministers of health and delegates from as many as 24 countries will come together to share best practices and forge alliances on preventable child and maternal deaths as part of a two-day summit to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 27 in New Delhi.

The ‘Call to Action 2015’ summit will discuss all the areas that play a pivotal role in the success of programme delivery such as water, nutrition, sanitation, health financing, corporate partnerships, game-changing innovations, and accountability.The Summit will be co-hosted with the Health Ministry of Ethiopia and in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the Tata Trusts, UNICEF, USAID, UK Aid and WHO.

The 24 countries participating in the summit, which is being held in the lead up to the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, together account for two-thirds of the global child-mother mortality rate.

Talking to newsmen here today, CK Mishra, Additional Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Ministry and Mission Director, National Health Mission said, "It will be a platform for 24 countries to deliberate upon the importance of Systems Partnerships, Innovations, Convergence and Evidence in ending all preventable maternal and child deaths."

He said that "cross-learning" will be an important part of the summit as some of the best Indian and global practices will be discussed during the event.

"A major highlight of the summit is the Ministerial Conclave where ministers of health from 24 participating nations will reflect on initiatives that their countries are taking… They will share lessons learned in the process and decide new ways to move forward to protect and promote every child’s right to life," he said.

The meet will evolve a set of tangible outcomes to create avenues for strong partnerships among countries in maternal and child health. "This is a policy-making summit where all countries will put their heads together to think up strategies," he said.

Mishra said that India has an outstanding story when it comes to checking maternal and child mortality as the rate of decline in this regard has been better than the global average.

"In 1990, the difference between global average and Indian scenario was huge. We have, by 2012, improved a lot. We are still working on the Millenium Development Goal and, given the present rate of decline, we should be able to achieve it," he said.

Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Reproductive and Child Health), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “India has made progress in reducing child and maternal mortality over the years. We will focus on innovations that can be replicated and scaled up in other countries.”

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.

Girindre Beeharry, Country Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “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.”

Louis-Georges Arsenault, UN Resident Coordinator and Representative, UNICEF was of the opinion that, “ 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.”

Arun Pandhi, Programme Director, Tata Trusts said, “ 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.”

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