Urgent action needed to achieve health goals: President Patil

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NEW DELHI - President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said on Saturday India needs to translate pledges into time-bound actions to achieve Millennium Development Goals in the health sector.

A United Nations’ report last year said India’s fight to lower maternal and child mortality rates was failing due to growing social inequalities and shortages in primary healthcare facilities despite an economic boom.

Addressing the 2010 Partners’ Forum on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, in New Delhi, President Patil said that all efforts should be made to meet the 2015 deadline.

“With only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, there is an even greater need to give impetus to the endeavours to translate pledges into real, time-bound actions, that would substantially improve the survival and health of women and children,” said Patil.

“Following the economic and financial crisis of 2008, over 60 million people across the globe slipped back into poverty. It is, therefore, important that for achieving MDGs, global economic recovery is durable, balanced and sustainable,” she added.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) India’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) stands at 450 per 100,000 live births-against 540 in the 1998-99 period — and way behind the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which call for a reduction to 109 by 2015.

Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad said infrastructure bottlenecks in the sector have been ironed out but human resource problems were still there.

“Any deadline to meet in so far as the health sector is concerned is always very difficult. State governments and the Central Government unless they work in close coordination, then it’s possible to do it. But State governments have their own problems, their own deficiencies of human resource particularly,” said Azad.

“We do not have the problem of infrastructure now. The infrastructure problem has been solved to a great extent. But the human resource problem is still there,” he added.

Director-General of World Health Organisation Margaret Chan was also present at the event. (ANI)

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