Conference: Call to Action - Child Survival and Development for Every Child in India


Opening sessions

The opening of the Summit heard from some key and high-level speakers

Chair: Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hon'ble Union Minister, Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

  • Welcome address: Mr. Keshav Desiraju, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, MoHFW, India
  • Setting the landscape: Speaker: Dr. Robert Black, Prof. and Chairman International Health, JHSPH
  • India's Progress on Child Survival & Development, Success & Challenges and way forward:Speaker: Ms. Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, MoHFW, India
  • Address by: Ms. Nancy J Powell, United States Ambassador to India
  • Address by: Shri S. Gandhiselvan, Hon'ble Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
  • Address by: Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hon'ble Union Minister, Health and Family Welfare, Government of India
  • Vote of thanks by: Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (RCH), MoHFW

Theme 1: New Born Health and Child Survival- Continuum of Care

Chair: Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hon'ble Union Minister, Health and Family Welfare, India
Co-Chair: Mr. David Oot, Associate- Vice President, Department of Health and Nutrition Save the Children, (USA)

  • MDG and beyond, Regional perspective( South Asia) on Child Survival: Speaker: Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta; Endowed Professor, Division of Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Pakistan (20 Min)
  • Continuum of care: the importance for child survival: Speaker Dr. Elizabeth Mason, Director MNCH, WHO -HQ ( 15 Min)
  • Global and Regional Lessons: Speaker: Dr. Mickey Chopra, UNICEF-HQ (15 Min)

Quotes from day 1 Sessions

Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health (India), emphasized the need for inter-ministerial cooperation and accountability to make further dents in reducing child mortality: "We must demand accountability at all levels...Unless we have accountability, we cannot proceed further.”

Ms Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, MOHFW, India said that India needed to reduce child mortality by 2.7% between 1990-2015 to achieve the MDGs. India has achieved 2.4%. However, “India can get there,” said Ms Gupta. That has been shown by the phenomenal progress during the last two years between 2008-10, India has had an average decline of 7.25%. Ms Gupta stated that for remarkable progress, we need to focus on districts now, rather than states.

Keshav Desiraju, Secretary, HFW, India : "Every Child born has a right to a healthy Childhood"

Dr Robert Black, Prof. and Chairman International Health, JHSPH: "In India, more than 50% of under-5 deaths are in the neonatal period....There is synergy between under-nutrition and infectious diseases."

Nancy Powell, US Ambassador: "Polio success has shown what India is capable of.”

Dr Jose Martinez stated that when mothers do nott use health facilities for deliveries, it puts both the mother and child at risk. “We need to understand complementarity between maternal and newborn care….We have to pay attention to adolescent girls. ”

Dr Vinod Paul stated that while there have been significant gains in India between the 1st-4th week period, the 1st week itself continues to be a major problem. Day One is critical and most deaths occur on that day. Dr. Vinod Paul stressed the importance of different stakeholders working together as partners. “Gains of institutional deliveries have not translated into gains for newborn survival,” said Dr Paul. “Saving neonatal lives in the 1st week requires improved coverage and quality care at facilities.”

Dr. Vinod Paul presented a solution set to mother and child health in India:

  • Improved quality of care at facilities;
  • Improved facility capacity for newborn care;
  • Linking facility and home care;
  • Enhanced access to treatment by sick neonate;
  • Adapt government schemes and engage private sector (in developing technologies, innovation, financing);
  • Invest in implementation research.

“Reducing early neonatal mortality is the litmus test for India,”said Dr Paul. “Get sick newborn girls to facilities. That would be a game changer for India.”

Dr. Mickey Chopra, UNICEF, alluded to the fact that not enough innovation is happening at the low-cost, low-tech end and that innovation is also required for the day to day activities. We need to close the gap between ideal and typical uptake of interventions. ... More than half the reduction we seek in child mortality is possible with existing interventions.A small shift can save millions of lives.”

Dr Elizabeth Mason, WHO: “India’s success in removing polio has inspired the world.