Modi to open global summit on child deaths

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate here on August 27 the Call To Action Summit 2015, a global meet for ending preventable child and maternal deaths, it was announced on Thursday.

The two-day summit would have ministers, medical experts and officials from 24 countries deciding on strategies and sharing practices, said Rakesh Kumar, joint secretary in the health and family welfare ministry.

The 24 countries, which include the US and Ethiopia, were the “priority” countries as child and maternal deaths there amount to two-thirds of the global total, he told a press conference.

The Call To Action Summit, first hosted in the US in 2012, aims to end preventable child deaths by 2035. It will be co-hosted by the WHO, Unicef, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Tata Trusts.

C.K. Mishra, the additional secretary and mission director of the National Health Mission, said: “The decline of child and maternal deaths in the country has been an outstanding story in the global scenario.”

The decline rate of infant, mother deaths has been high due to effective health practices and vaccines, Mishra said, adding the deaths have fallen by nearly 50 percent.

Mishra said that AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) doctors would be appointed in rural areas to facilitate access to health care.

He added: “Qualified people are not always necessary, but a trained non-medical person could also take care of basic health care.

“Eradicating infant mortality and improving maternal health are also a part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This summit will adopt policies to move ahead in the world scenario.”

The decline of child and maternal deaths in India have had a “tremendous” improvement and has been faster than the global average, the official said.

About 45 different practices being followed in the world to end preventable child and mother deaths, which will be displayed at the meet.

Mishra said 24 states in India had met fertility goals of 2.1 required for population stabilisation.

According to the health and family welfare ministry’s figures, the total number of child deaths in the world has fallen by 48 percent, from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

Maternal deaths globally have also decreased by 45 percent, from 523,000 in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.

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