WHO holds consultation with policymakers on maternal,child health

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New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNI) South East Asia faces a major challenge in reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality as more than 1,70,000 women die during pregnancy and child birth every year while the region accounts for 1.3 million neonatal deaths, the World Health Organisation said today.

In addition, the region has one million stillbirths and about 3 million under-five deaths annually. With these huge numbers, accounting for one third of the global toll, the region faces a great challenge in achieving reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortalities as targeted in the Millennium Development Goals, WHO feels.

The WHO has brought together policy-makers, health providers, academia, professional organisations, partners and donors to address these issues at a four-day high-level consultation beginning in Ahmedabad.

The consultation would emphasise on ensuring continuum of care while delivering health care for mothers, newborns and children.

This includes care during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum period and care of newborns and children. There is a further need for continuum of care at different levels of a health system, i.e., from the individual, family and community levels to primary care and beyond. Ensuring this continuity in health care remains a great challenge for many countries.

"Maternal, newborn and child health outcomes are related to social, cultural, economic, environmental and other factors. It is important for health planners to tackle these challenges in a holistic, multidisciplinary manner with the involvement of related stakeholders,"said Dr Samlee Plianbangchang WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

This high-level consultation will address these issues and try to achieve a regional consensus on the way forward, including well-defined actions that will make a significant impact on country efforts to achieve and sustain the maternal and child health MDGs.

Experts at the consultation will also review progress, identify challenges in achieving the maternal and child health-related MDGs in the Region, and share evidence-based interventions and best practices on maternal, newborn and child health.

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