Union health secretary Preeti Sudan inaugurated the ‘India Day’, an official side event organized jointly by the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) and the development partners in the run up to the Partners’ Forum 2018 in New Delhi.
Speaking at the event, Preeti Sudan stated that flexibility has been at the core of all our initiatives in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent (RMNCH+A) programme and a major contributor to its success. She further added that States have launched various innovative initiatives under RMNCH+A that encourage people to be partners in their own health and well-being.
Speaking at the function, Manoj Jhalani, additional health secretary and mission director, stressed on the various aspect of RMNCH+A and stated that the Government recognizes the crucial significance of the first 1,000 in a child’s life. Our health cadres and midwifery services are geared at this. Equally, our focus is on children, adolescents and pregnant and lactating mothers, who we seek to strengthen through a series of initiatives like the Poshan Abhiyaan and Anaemia Mukt Bharat, he said.
India Day event is aimed to reflect on the journey of the RMNCH+A programme and to share and learn from the good practices and innovations implemented by different States/UTs and organisations to address various health challenges around maternal and child health in order to sustain progress on global goals.
Besides providing a platform for expressing the vision and achievements of RMNCH+A by major stakeholders from national, state, and community, India Day also showcased the key themes through engaging formats such as film and performances to depict the lived realities of key stakeholders. Frontline workers, the youth and peer educators expressed their perspectives on the journey so far and the road ahead. The event’s sessions—conducted under the broad themes of community-based interventions, services and systems and enablers like use of data—highlighted the interventions that have worked well in states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The RMNCH+A strategy is centred on the continuum of care approach, catering to health needs at every stage of the lifecycle.
RMNCH+A is aligned with the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and its key programming tenets articulating well-defined targets to end preventable deaths, ensure health and well-being and expand enabling environments, popularly known as the Survive, Thrive and Transform approach. The agenda of the 2018 Partners’ Forum is framed around these objectives. With India Day, the MoHFW has communicated both its approach to this end as well as its commitment.
In India, maternal, child, neonatal and adolescent health gained tremendous momentum since RMNCH+A was rolled out. India’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) has fallen from 556 in the year 1990 to 130 in 2014–16 (SRS data).
The country’s progress can be gauged from the 77% decline in MMR that it achieved during 1990 -2015, compared to global decline of 44% during this period. In child health also, India’s achievements have been strong. Under-five mortality rate (U5MR) in India has fallen significantly, from 126 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 39 per 1,000 live births in 2016.