Call for Action Summit on Child Survival and Development concludes with renewed commitment and pledges to prevent child mortality
CHENNAI, India, 9 February 2013 - The three day Call for Action on Child Survival and Development ended today with a call for renewing the promise towards further reducing U5MR in India. The Summit was held in the presence of Shri. GhulamNabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of Woman & Child Development at Mammallapuram, Tamil Nadu.
The Summit also arrived at a set of agreed actions that will sustain the momentum and promote accountability in India’s journey towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child mortality.
Pledges for renewed commitment for ensuring health care continuum from child hood to motherhood through adolescence were given on the final day by prominent participants like Dr Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID, Smt Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, Dr.Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director UNFPA-HQ, Dr. Elizabeth Mason, Director- MNCH, WHO, Ms.Helen Evans, Deputy CEO, GAVI Alliance, Ms. Mariam Claeson, Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Over 60 national and international experts and 300 delegates participated in the summit.
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri GhulamNabi Azad, who inaugurated the summit, announced an incentive programme for states performing well in the new born and under five children’s health and development initiatives. Significantly, he also cautioned that underperforming states would be dis-incentivised.
Smt Krishna Thirath, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, while chairing a session on Social Determinants of Child Survival, revealed that a maternity cash benefit scheme has been launched for empowering pregnant women and adolescent girls. She announced that a National Mission for Empowerment of Women has also been started.
Smt Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission pointed out that the narrowing of the rural – urban gap in child mortality in India is reflective of the improved equity in health care. She also said that the rate of decline of Under5 mortality rate was faster in India than the global average. She said that the Summit has been an opportunity for sharing experiences and celebrating successes in the area of maternal and child health.
Smt. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF pointed out, in a pledge delivered on the final day of the Summit, that ultimately it is the citizens of a country who need to come forward and play an enormous role. “UNICEF will continue to support the Government of India in its effort to scale-up high-impact strategies and innovations through our country programme, with its focus on neonatal mortality, nutrition, sanitation, quality basic education and protecting children from the risks of child marriage, child labour and exploitation, focusing throughout on adolescents who represents the next generation that will lead to socio-economic change in India”.
In a video message to the summit, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID said "This is an extraordinary step, and it represents exactly the kind of
innovative, results-oriented, and country-led approach we need in order to achieve incredible results together. I want to applaud the Government of
India’s commitment to serve children by establishing a continuum of care—from addressing the health of mothers to infants to children to adolescents. I encourage you to continue to work together and measure and report on results—including through national and state level report cards.”
Several strategy documents and operational guidelines were released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare during the Summit. These include Strategic Roadmap on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH +A), Maternal Health Toolkit, guidelines for pre-service nursing and midwifery education, infant and young child feeding practices, child health screening and early intervention service and the National Iron plus
Improving accountability and transparency through a National Child Survival Score Card, an innovative Dashboard for tracking progress, Supportive Supervision Model, Child health screening and early intervention processes, Newborn Health – Continuum of care, MDG and beyond, prevention of diarrhea and pneumonia, social determinants of child survival, role of communication in child survival, partnership and leadership dialogue were some of the core themes discussed during the three day summit.
Pledges for the call to Action for Child Survival came from diverse sectors including the Civil Society and Faith based organizations, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and prominent public personalities like actors Priyanka Chopra, Sharmila Tagore and Aamir Khan.
UNICEF, WHO and the GAVI Alliance presented a token of recognition to the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare to recognize and celebrate the completion of two years of polio- free India.
The Summit, organized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in partnership with the UNICEF and USAID, was a follow up of the ‘Global Child Survival Call to Action: A Promise to Keep’ Summit in Washington DC in June 2012, co convened by India, Ethiopia and the USA.