Harsh Vardhan outlines key to reduce maternal and child deaths

Harsh Vardhan
Washington, Jun 26: Asserting that the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035 is well within reach, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has outlined six key actions to accelerate achieve this goal.

This includes the power of belief, partnership, evidence, communication and gender equality, and untapped power in health financing and organization. Calling upon the global leaders on the urgent need to invest in 'Girl Child Education' to realize the goal of Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths, Vardhan said in his key note address to the international meet.

Speaking at the meeting on "Acting on the Call:  Ending preventable child and maternal deaths," he asserted that it is collective responsibility to ensure that the investments and the benefits of development reach every mother and child, for creating a better future for the generations to come. "It is now evident that with the sustained efforts across the globe with a focus on equity, the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035 seems well within our reach," Vardhan said.

The day-long event was organized by the USAID, India and Ethiopia in association with the Melinda and Gates Foundation.

"By now, we are also certain about the investments which countries need to make to save the lives of 15 million children and almost 600,000 mothers by 2020," he added. Noting that India is committed to take a leadership role in ending preventable child and maternal deaths, both in India and globally, Vardhan said a strong vision and leadership by governments can make a critical contribution to further accelerate the momentum already in place to end preventable deaths.

"As Ministers of Health, we must return to our countries and review comprehensively our progress to date, identify next steps, and do whatever is needed and in our power to take this initiative to the next level," he said addressing the meeting which was attended by health ministers and leaders from countries across the globe.

Transparency and mutual accountability can be achieved through country-led, inclusive, transparent, and participatory oversight processes, he added. On behalf of the global health leaders, he proposed six key actions that will enable them to accelerate the efforts.

"First, the Power of Belief" Vardhan said as he narrated his experience of setting the goal of polio eradication from the country.

"Let us not underestimate the power of believing that we can end preventable child and maternal deaths as well. Now is the time for 'Acting on the Call'. We have the necessary interventions and tools. What is needed first is the belief that we can END and not merely reduce, preventable deaths," he said.


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