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It’s official: India is free of newborn tetanus

PM Narendra Modi praises UPA programmes on child, maternal health.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi |
Updated: August 28, 2015 5:41:29 am
tetanus, newborn tetanus, newborn tetanus in india, modi tetanus, Narendra Modi, Global Call to action summit, Narendra Modi child deaths, Modi news, Modi call to action, Narendra Modi call to action summit, India news Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the third Global Call To Action Summit in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: Express Photo by Renuka Puri)

India has successfully eliminated maternal and newborn tetanus (MNT), an infection that at its peak killed some two lakh infants and women in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Thursday.

Describing the achievement as yet another health milestone for India after eradication of polio last year, the PM paid rich tributes to the UPA government’s flagship programme the National Health Mission (NHM).

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He announced that the government had identified 184 poorest performing districts in terms of health outcomes where special efforts will soon be made to dedicate resources in focussed programmes.

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The Indian Express had first reported in May about India’s victory against MNT.

Despite the Health Ministry getting the certification from WHO a couple of months ago, the public announcement was withheld due to a decision taken at the highest levels that it should be communicated first by none other than the Prime Minister.

“These remarkable successes in the field of maternal and child health have been possible through our National Health Mission. The Mission, with its urban and rural health components — perhaps one of the largest public health programmes in the world — has resulted in improved health outcomes. Fifty-two per cent of India’s under-five mortality is contributed to by deaths of newborns in the first month of life. Under NHM, our approach emphasises a continuum of newborn care both at the community and facility level,” said Modi in his inaugural address at the third Global Call to Action Summit 2015, which was attended by representatives from 24 countries.

Launched in 2005 as the National Rural Health Mission by then PM Manmohan Singh, NHM has been widely recognised as a game changer in India’s public health initiatives. The National Health Mission came into existence through a Cabinet decision in 2013 and NRHM was subsumed in it.

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While the PM did make references to his own pet projects like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, he also praised several other UPA initiatives, including Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK). While the JSY gives incentives for institutional deliveries, the JSSK provides free health care to every woman delivering in a public health institution as well as the newborn. Modi credited JSY with the current institutional delivery rate of 75 per cent.

Modi also praised the Maternal and Child Tracking System (MCTS) that tracks vaccination and other needs of mother and child through the mobile phone network.

Later, Health Minister J P Nadda said that the MCTS, started by the UPA, was a scale-up of Gujarat’s e-Mamata scheme started by Modi as CM.

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The summit is being hosted for the first time in India, and outside the US.

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First published on: 28-08-2015 at 12:26:50 am
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