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India hopes to attain MDGs on child mortality, maternal health

child mortality

United Nations: With increased funding and stepped-up investments in health systems, India today said it expects to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health this year.

With an almost 400 per cent increase in federal funding and stepped-up investment in health systems, efforts in improving healthcare have begun to show results, said India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Bhagwant Bishnoi at a session of Commission of Population and Development here.

Bishnoi cited the government’s flagship National Rural Health Mission and other innovative health interventions that have led to increased life expectancy, increased rates of immunisation of children, and substantial drop in under-five, neo-natal and maternal mortality rates between 1990 and 2013.

With these results, India expects to achieve targets for both Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, which require nations to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate and reduce by three- quarters in the same 25 years, the maternal mortality ratio.

He said for India inclusion is a special challenge and responsibility, given its vast social, regional and economic diversity.

“Reducing poverty is a key element in our inclusive growth and development strategy,” Bishnoi said, citing the ‘Sarava Shikha Abhiyaan’ which ensures primary education to all and the innovative ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign that has renewed the focus on education of girls.

As more than 54 per cent of its population is below 25 years of age, India is poised to reap the proverbial demographic dividend in a rapidly growing economy, he said.

India is also committed to the achievement of gender equality and women empowerment and combating discrimination and gender-based violence.

“With over a billion people in the world continuing to live in poverty, the international community must synergise political will and increase funding, including by fulfilment of official development assistance commitments to help realise the ‘future we want’ for present and future generations,” he said.

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