Sanchi (MP), May 2 (PTI) Leaders of different faiths here today resolved to extend support to the newborn and maternal healthcare initiatives to bring down the infant mortality rate.
Nearly 50 religious leaders gathered at Sanchi as part of ‘Faith Leaders Dialogue on Newborn Care and Immunisation’ organised by Bhopal-based NGO Spandan with support of UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh.
The objective was to enlist support of the faith leaders to reduce neonatal mortality, a release issued by NGO Spandan said.
The leaders representing faiths and sects of major religions like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Jain agreed that newborn and maternal healthcare, as well as full immunisation, was of utmost importance to ensure healthy growth of babies and to prevent infant deaths, it said.
They also agreed that the religious platforms could be used to effectively communicate this message to the followers of respective communities. At conclusion they signed the resolution to extend maximum possible support to the government and supporting organisations initiatives in this respect, said the release.
In the beginning principal secretary of health department, Gauri Singh outlined the current scenario on newborn and maternal health.
She said the facilities and services of the health department were in place, but the connection of the community was missing.
Highlighting the poor newborn health scenario in Madhya Pradesh, UNICEF officer incharge of the state Manish Mathur shared that in MP, 1,16,820 children die before their fifth birthday.
Out of these, 64,063 new-borns die within one month of their life and these infants could be saved through proper interventions.
These include warmth, cleanliness, early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, protection of new born and immunisation, he said.
Faith leaders support could make the achievement of the objective to reduce neonatal and childhood mortality easier, he emphasised.
UNICEF’s MP communication specialist Anil Gulati raised the issue of possibility of setting up of a platform of faith based leaders for children which can take the momentum forward.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.