India Needs Political Leadership, Resources To Ensure Children’s Right To Health
“India is making positive strides in reducing child mortality through new policies and ambitious programs, but preventing the deaths of millions of children remains one of the country’s greatest challenges,” health expert and blogger John Butler writes in the Wall Street Journals “India Real Time” blog, noting, “Roughly 1.7 million children under five years old die every year in India, says UNICEF, representing more than a fifth of all child deaths worldwide.” He continues, “Earlier this month, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hailed India’s commitment to work to ensure that no child dies of preventable causes,” adding, “Extending this latest push on child health, Congress party President Sonia Gandhi launched a program under the Health Ministry that aims to provide comprehensive care to 270 million children every year.”
“This new program, the Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services, aims to reduce child mortality and improve the overall quality of life of children,” Butler writes. “In January, India celebrated reaching two years since its last case of polio and it has been taken off the World Health Organization’s list of endemic countries. That achievement, once thought impossible, should provide a blueprint for the delivery of other health services,” such as “routine immunization covering children against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and measles,” he states, concluding, “India needs political leadership, increased resources and strong partnerships in order to have a comprehensive approach that ensures its children really do get the right to health” (3/1).