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Polio-free India Now Determined to Eliminate Measles, Tetanus

Laying emphasis on strengthening of routine immunisation, Health Min Ghulam Nabi Azad said the lessons learnt from success of polio campaign could help eliminate measles-related child deaths and neonatal tetanus from the country.

In his valedictory address at the two-day Polio Summit in New Delhi on Sunday, Azad said there has to be continued vigil and effective emergency preparedness as India cannot afford to let its guards now on the polio virus.



Laying emphasis on strengthening of routine immunisation, Health Min Ghulam Nabi Azad said the lessons learnt from success of polio campaign could help eliminate measles-related child deaths and neonatal tetanus from the country.

In his valedictory address at the two-day Polio Summit in New Delhi on Sunday, Azad said there has to be continued vigil and effective emergency preparedness as India cannot afford to let its guards now on the polio virus.

"Emboldened by our progress in polio, we are confident that we can achieve elimination of measles related child deaths. We also now wish to completely eliminate neonatal tetanus in India and are moving towards it. Some of our learnings and lessons from the Polio programme could prove to be extremely useful in accomplishing these tasks," Azad said.

The Minister laid stress on immunisation and said "strengthening routine immunisation is an imperative if we wish to sustain our gains in polio and guard ourselves against both distant and international importations."

He said, "We have declared 2012, the year of the intensification of Routine Immunisation. We intend to accelerate routine immunisation activities from 1st April itself through special immunisation drives, with a special focus on 207 districts recording low routine immunisation coverage."

The minister also reaffirmed India's commitment to funding the Polio programme and said it willing to lend all possible support for global eradication of polio.

Azad said with increased public investments in health from domestic resources India required "catalytic and technical support" from its various partners in helping eradicate many diseases.

He urged Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Gates Foundation, GAVI and other partners to now work to provide impetus to routine immunisation and synergize polio eradication and Routine Immunisation strategies.

"I am confident that together we would be able to ensure that India not only becomes Polio-free but that all our children are fully protected against every preventable disease," he said.

Azad said that 26 million mothers and children have already been registered under the web enabled mother and child tracking system set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The system generates weekly work plans for the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives through SMS.

He informed that in 14 states where coverage is less than 80 percent, introduction of second dose of measles has been started. Our target is to cover more than 130 million children under this campaign.

The minister informed the gathering that President Pratibha Patil, who launches the annual National Pulse Polio round, has conveyed her personal greetings and commendation on the public health milestone that has been achieved with WHO's decision to take India off the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission.

The two-day Summit emphasised perseverance, innovation and accountability as the hallmarks of India's polio programme.

Azad said he would look forward to another polio summit after January 2014 when India would be declared Polio Free.

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Arunachal Pradesh Launches Two New Contraceptives



Arunachal Pradesh government has launched two new contraceptives – an injectable one and a pill – under separate programmes to expand people’s choice contraceptives.

The injectable contraceptive was launched under the ‘Antara’ programme and the pill under ‘Chhaya’.

Gynecologists of various districts of the state were also trained on the new contraceptives during a programme. Family Welfare Director Dr K Lego urged people to take up the responsibility of providing the people the basket of contraceptives to avoid unnecessary abortion, teenage pregnancy and spacing.

India was the first country in the world to launch family planning programme as early as in 1952 with the aim of controlling its population, he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had launched two new contraceptives in September last year.

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India Registers Significant Decline in Child Mortality Rate



Rate of decline has doubled over last year

Big boost to ‘Mission Indradhanush’

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda, expressed happiness over the just-released SRS bulletin (2016) as India registered a significant decline in under-five child mortality.

According to the bulletin, under-five child mortality (U5MR) of India showed an impressive decline by 9%, a 4 points decline from 43 per 1000 in 2015 to 39 in 2016.

The rate of decline has doubled over the last year. Not only this, number of under-five deaths for the first time in the country have come down to below 1 million with nearly 120,000 fewer under-five deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Most of the states have shown good progress in reduction of under-five child mortality from the previous year, except Chattisgarh, Delhi and Uttarakhand, which have shown a slight increase over the previous year and Telangana, which has shown no change in 2016.

Congratulating all those associated with this remarkable feat,  Shri Nadda stated that the results signify that the strategic approach of the Government is yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states are paying off. He stated that India with the current rate of decline of U5MR is on track to meet the SDG target for under-five child mortality of 25 by 2030.

The Health Minister further said that under the visionary leadership and guidance of the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, the government is committed to advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage in the country and its initiatives like Mission Indradhanush and Intensified Mission Indradhanush, with their focused approach, is significantly turning the tide in favour of India.

Shri Nadda said that these remarkable achievements in merely one year are the result of countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives of the Government that include strengthening of service delivery; quality assurance; RMNCH+A interventions; strengthening human resources and community processes; information and knowledge; drugs and diagnostics, and supply chain management, etc.

According to the SRS Bulletin, the gender gap in India for child survival is reducing steadily; the gender difference between female and male under-five mortality rates has now reduced to 11% which was as high as 17% in 2014.

The current under-five mortality for the male child is 37 per 1000, while for the female child is 41 per 1000 live births.

Amongst the bigger states, seven states (Chattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, MP, Odisha, Tamil Nadu Telangana) have reversed the gender gap in the survival of the female child, while four of these have reversed the gender gap for under-five survival. These are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Telangana, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Delhi have depicted less than 5% gap in mortality of female child and are within striking distance to reverse the gender gap. The maximum gender gap in the survival of under-five for the female child is in Bihar (46% higher mortality for the female child), followed by Haryana (23%), Kerala (20%), Assam, Karnataka (19%) and Rajasthan (17%).

Further, the SRS Bulletin also shows that the neonatal mortality rate has reduced by 1 point from 25 per 1000 live births to 24 per 1000.

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Government Approves Closure of Autonomous Healthcare Bodies



Cabinet approves rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for closure of Autonomous Bodies, namely, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) and the functions are proposed to be vested in Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW).

The rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare will involve inter-ministerial consultations and review of existing bye-laws of these bodies. The timeframe for implementation is one year,

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) was set up as a registered society to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in designated central government hospitals. An advance is placed with the Medical Superintendents of such hospitals who then provide assistance on a case to case basis.

Since the DoHFW provides funds to the hospitals, the grants can be given from the Department to the hospital directly. RAN functions can, therefore, be vested in DoHFW. Managing Committee of RAN Society will meet to dissolve the Autonomous Body (AB) as per provisions of Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA).

In addition to this, Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) shall also be transferred to the Department. The timeline required for this is one year.

Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) was set up with a corpus grant of Rs.100 crores in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies. JSK organizes various activities with target populations as a part of its mandate.

There has been no continuous funding to JSK from the Ministry. Population stabilization strategies require private and corporate funding, which can be accessed through JSK. Although JSK will continue to play a significant role in population stabilization strategies, its existence as an Autonomous Body is not necessary. Hence, JSK as an Autonomous Body can be closed as it can be administered by the Department as a fund.


Based on the recommendations of Expenditure Management Commission, NITI Aayog had undertaken a review of the 19 Autonomous Bodies, under the DoHFW, that have been formed under Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA) and submitted the Interim Report of the Committee for the Review of ABs with recommendations to rationalize the same.

The main concern of the Government is that ABs are required to be reviewed and rationalised with a view to improving their outcomes, effectiveness and efficiency, utilisation of financial and human resources, synergy, governance and relevance in current policy and programme context, with improved monitoring and oversight. The Committee had recommended closure of RAN and JSK and their functions to be vested in the Ministry.

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