The health of women, young adults and children is central to the governance agenda the Government and it is not just the concern of the global community. Reaffirming the commitment of the government towards meeting the health needs of mothers, adolescents and children, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda stated this at the inauguration of the Global Stakeholders’ Consultation to update the strategy for health of Woman, Children and Adolescents- “Every Woman, Every Child”, here today. The global consultation is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with UN Secretary General’s Office, the World Health Organisation and Partnership for Maternal, Newborn& Child Health (PMNCH) and other H4+ partners comprising six United Nations agencies- UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO and the World Bank.
Pointing that improved health outcomes are an economic and social investment which is an integral part for a robust and thriving economy, the Health Minister pointed out that India has made substantial progress on several indicators in the recent years. The under-five mortality rate has come down by over 61 per cent between 1990 and 2013; the neonatal mortality rate has registered a 47 per cent decline between 1990 and 2013, while the maternal mortality indicators have shown reduction of nearly 70 per cent between 1990 and 2013. He stated that India is geared to achieve its targets for both MGD 4 and 5.
Nadda stated that drawing on the lessons learned through the implementation of various targeted programmes under the NHM, existing traditional areas of work have been strengthened and newer focus areas have been identified. India has moved from its earlier focus on Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) to a new strategic approach, the RMNCH+A, focusing attention on all the life stages including adolescents. This new approach emphasizes inter-linkages between each of the five pillars under RMNCH+A, and connects community and facility based services.
The Health Minister highlighted the salient features of the Mission ‘Indradhanush’ to ensure vaccination of each and every left out and missed out child in India against seven vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020. These diseases include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B. He further added that India’s universal immunisationprogramme has been expanded to introduce three new vaccines for children: those against rotavirus, rubella and polio – targeting rotavirus, the leading cause of diarrhoea and among the biggest killers of children in our country.To address the challenge posed by the significant inequalities across and within states, the focus has been shifted to geographical areas of greatest concern and populations that carry the highest burden of illness and mortality, he stated.
Speaking at the occasion, Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to UN Secretary Generalsaid that while tremendous progress has been made during the last decade on several indicators of mother, child and adolescent health, much remains to be done. There is need for deepening and strengthening partnerships between various stakeholders for achieving the goals for a sustainable development agenda. Emerging economies have an important role to play within this framework of partnership, she added.
The updated 2015 Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health seeks to inform the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda with a vision to ensure that by 2030 every woman, child, and adolescent can realize their potential and right to attain the highest level of health and wellbeing, dignity and human security. The new Global Strategy, set to be released at the UN General Assembly in September alongside the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will provide a roadmap for improving the health of women, children and adolescents between 2016 and 2030.
Dr.FlaviaBustreo,Assistant Director General, WHO;DrPoonamKhetrapalSingh, Regional Director, WHO; YemuraiNyoni, youth Parliamentarian from Zimbabwe; NataMenabde, Country Representative, WHO; Secretary (Health& Family Welfare), B P Sharma and other senior officials from the Health Ministry were also present at the inaugural session of the two-day global meet.