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Norway Grants $80 mn to India's Health Mission

Norway has granted $80 million to the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) of India for its immunisation, child and maternal health programmes.//

The funds will be allocated through UNICEF and WHO - the two programme partners - for specific activities.

The governments of India and Norway also launched a multi-partner initiative Tuesday here for achieving the millennium development goals imbedded in the NHRM - a programme under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, according to a release by UNICEF.

This multi-partner initiative will primarily focus on five states - Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa - where the child mortality rate is the highest.

Inge Tveite, counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, was quoted in the release as saying: "The millennium development goals set by the United Nations says that child mortality should be reduced by the two-thirds by the year 2015. We can achieve these goals if we work together thus saving millions of children.

"This will in turn ensure that more countries have healthier and better educated people, healthier and stronger economies."

UNICEF will be responsible for strengthening and building capacity of vaccine logistics and cold chains systems, training and enabling the accredited social health activists (ASHAs) for home-based newborn and child care.

It will also be responsible for facilitating successful implementation of the integrated management of neonatal and child illness (IMNCI) at the district level.

The secretary of health and family welfare, Prasanna Hota, was quoted as saying: "Our belief is that this partnership will become the model to reduce infant mortality for countries across the globe.

"With the commitment and support of international organisations such as UNICEF we have all the conditions to succeed."

WHO, another partner responsible for the successful implem entation of the NHRM, will enhance overall programme support, strengthen surveillance and extend services on maternal health.

The partnership will be governed by a joint Norway-India steering committee under the chairmanship of the secretary of health and family welfare.

India has the third highest child mortality rate in the world, even though it is declining over the last few decades. The five states account for 60 percent of the total number of infant deaths reported in the country.

(Source: IANS)

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