National Summit on Call to Action for Child Survival and Development

National Rural Health Mission said India’s decline in Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) during 2005-10 has accelerated to an average of 7.5% each year. Though the average Under Five Child Mortality Rate has been lower in urban areas, the rate of decline in rural areas has been much faster. The rural-urban gap in child mortality has narrowed reflecting improved equity in healthcare. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will hold National Summit on “Call to Action for Child Survival and Development” at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu on 7-9 February, 2013. This will be organized in partnership with UNICEF and USAID. The Summit is a critical platform that will strategically engage over 200 delegates including 27 international and 35 national experts, key policy makers, planners and implementers from the health sector representing all states of India, representatives and heads of UN and development agencies, global health experts and practitioners, civil society members and private sector, to discuss and debate on Child Survival and Development in India. The Summit will be an opportunity for sharing experiences and challenges; celebrate successes in maternal, newborn, child survival & development programmes; and pledge to meet India’s child survival and development goals.

The Call to Action:

With a large birth cohort of about 26 million and 158 million children in the age-group of 0-5 years, India accounts for the largest number of Under Five Deaths- nearly 1.5 million, of which close to 0.8 million die within 28 days of birth. Nevertheless, steady progress in curbing child deaths has been demonstrated. The rate of decline in U5MRhas been much faster than the global average: from 115 in 1990 to 59 in 2010 as against the global average of 87 and 57 respectively. The U5MR, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) have improved significantly to 59per 1000 live births, 212per 100,000 live births and 2.5respectively. Since June 2012, over 165 countries, hundreds of civil society organizations, private sector companies and faith-based leaders have pledged to redouble efforts to combat child survival and improve maternal health (MDGs 4 and 5) and focus on reaching the most disadvantaged and hardest to reach children in every country. A Promise Renewed is one of the central pillars supporting the implementation of the United Nations Secretary-General’s 2010 global strategy to improve women and children health called Every Woman, Every Child.

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India said the upcoming summit demonstrates India’s leadership and commitment to both the global community and the children of India. It is an opportunity for India to make great gains on child survival with increased commitment and funding for the most effective life-saving practices. The U.S. Government is proud to be a part of this initiative and look forward to working with the Government of India as it addresses crucial child survival issues.

It may be mentioned  that the Call to Action will be a shared platform for concerned ministries and inter-ministerial dialogue for the Centre and States, Global and Indian expertise, good will ambassadors, private sector, civil society, media and faith-based organizations to share experiences and challenges; celebrate successes in maternal, newborn and child survival and development programmes; and, pledge to recommit themselves to address challenges in implementation. The Health Ministry will launch an enabling Strategic Roadmap for Reproductive Maternal New born Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) and other development initiatives, engage with all partners to arrive at actionable goals and commitments for high-burden states aimed to reduce the deaths of children from preventable causes.

A roadmap entitled a “Strategic Approach to Reproductive Maternal New born Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A)” will also be launched at the Summit along with other pertinent guidelines and documents, aimed at accelerating reductions in preventable child deaths through sharper national plans and improved monitoring and evaluation.

Raja Raja Cholan
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