India, others making efforts to save children, women: UN

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 06:10 hrs

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Countries around the world, including India, are making significant progress in efforts to save the lives of women and children who die of preventable causes, though the goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015 is still a long way off, a UN report said Tuesday.

'Saving the Lives of 16 million', the progress report on UN's 'Every Woman Every Child' initiative which was launched last year, said over 50 countries, which include India, have joined the effort.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: 'One year on, we are seeing the result that Every Woman Every Child was meant to achieve. The number of mothers dying from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes is decreasing, and the number of children surviving beyond their fifth birthday has grown'.

'This is an important start - but we have a long way to go to reach our goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015 and securing the well-being of every woman and every child,' he said.

The progress report said that some countries, like Bangladesh, Burkina Faso and Nepal, governments are matching their investment with effective national policies and a better delivery system.

'In Burkina Faso, new commitments made to provide free family planning, improved emergency obstetric and neonatal care, and subsidized birth and child healthcare services have already been costed and included in the health ministry's plan of ation,' the report said.

'In Nepal, the commitments made to Every Woman Every Child are all included in the national health strategy of 2010-2015. In Bangladesh, the government committed to train 3,000 new midwives by 2015. The first class of midwives graduated in May 2011,' it added.

In India, M. Ayyappan, chairman of LifeSpring Hospitals, which is a member of the United Nations Development Programme's Business Call for Action, spoke of the importance of the role of the private sector in meeting public health needs.

'Our expanding operations in India demonstrate the true potential of private sector solutions to meet public health needs - perhaps most powerfully in the areas of maternal health and childhood vaccinations, both of which are recognised in Millennium Development Goals four and five,' Ayyappan said.

The report said all stakeholders - governments, civil society and private players - need to give commitments to achieve the goal. The commitments can be at the policy level, service delivery and financial commitment.

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