Last Thursday on 18th September 2014, it was an insightful experience to attend the launch of INAP, India New Born Action Plan programme. We all know the success story of India’s triumph over polio and learning from the past and following the same lines it was the day designated to start the crusade against newborn deaths. Yes, it was called a great day because it marked the launch of a ambitious plan that aims to save newborn deaths and bring down the number of deaths per 1000 in single digit.
The honorable guests of the event were Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. For this great cause, the chiefs of UNICEF, WHO, USAID came together to extend their utmost support. The other guests of honor who shared the dais were Mr. Louis George Arsenault, UNICEF representative India, Ms. Nata Menabde, WR India, Mr. John Beed, Mission Director, USAID India along with our Health and Welfare Minister, Mr. Harsh Vardhan.
The disturbing numbers…
Preventable newborn deaths account for 44 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five globally.
Four out of five newborn deaths result from three treatable conditions.
In India, 0.76 million newborns die each year mainly due to preventable causes.
Urban NMR is no good, it is also half of Rural NMR. Delhi IMR is also quite high.
There is zero, actually no health structure in cities.
WHAT IS INAP?
The India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) is developed in response to to the Global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) which was launched at World Health Assembly in June 2014. The programme outlines a targeted strategy for accelerating the reduction of preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths in the country. With this programme and effective interventions, it is a commitment to bring NMR (neonatal mortality rate) and SBR (Still born rate) to single digits by 2020.
Positive lines that were reverberated in the hall…
Every birth should be celebrated.
Every mother must survive.
Preventing the new born deaths and their mothers while delivery was very crucial. It could be cut down because they were all preventable and curable reasons that led to the deaths. Things are in place, what we need is micro-level disintegration of policies.
Mrs. Melinda Gates came out to be a very enthusiastic and focused lady. She was very assertive with her thoughts. It was great to hear her speak. She sent out a very touching message saying that healthy mother and children are crucial for every country. Also, she added that some very simple and preventable measures can avert lot many deaths. We have to be committed to the advisable solutions. She also said ‘Indeed India has come up with a ambitious plan but it is achievable!!’
Mr. Bill Gates started off in the high note stating that ‘Greatest resource of any country is its people.’ Right technology, right tools, right measures could help to solve greatest problems. He cheerfully lifted the book, ‘ A tale of two drops’ and said that the book was the testimony of the fact that we have eradicated Polio from India when once India was its biggest contributor, we can bring the new born death rate to single digit by 2030, there is no doubt about it. The stone has been laid, lets join hands.
Every child that is born, it brings with it the hope that God is not yet disappointed with man.
The Union of Health and Family Welfare Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan started his talk by quoting Rabrindranath Tagore at the INAP launch last Thursday. He said it was a historic day because it was another step towards India’s commitment to save newborns. The minister said institutionalized commitment and rigid resolve would be needed to achieve the same. He thanked Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and their people for working in remote areas. He also saluted 9 lakh ASHA workers who were working in remote areas in India along with a special thanks to the Indian Academy of Paediatrics who had worked out the technical roadmap for Polio and now for INAP.
On a personal level, I would say that many figures discussed in the hall were alarming, eye-opening but all of it that was discussed there was worth a hear. In fact it was about the most crucial thing, Health which affects all of us in some way or the other. In every family, a mother conceives, a child is born and for parents there is nothing more important than their children yet we are not able to save so many children. Thats the saddest moment for anyone to lose a child. Healthy mothers means healthy baby. We have to save both. Together we should spread the cause, increase awareness, reach out to people and guide them accordingly. Of course doctors and family play a great role but as an individual too we have the onus on us. My best wishes to the government to drive this initiative on war footing and be successful.
I extend my thanks to Mr. Sashi Kumar from UNICEF for extending the invite to me.