PM should give priority to child mortality, says NGO

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - International child rights organisation Save the Children Tuesday requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to participate in the high-level UN summit on Millennium Development Goals to discuss ways to reduce child mortality in India, which is the highest in the world.

The UN summit will be held at the United Nations Sep 20-22 and will assess and discuss the progress in the Millennium Development Goals, especially MDG-4, to reduce child mortality rate.

“Despite world leaders like Barack Obama prioritising the summit, the PM of India is not attending the summit. So ‘Save the children’ has sent an open letter to the prime minister signed by eminent people from various fields asking him to lead the delegation and prioritise MDG4 in India,” an official release from Save the Children said.

The letter is signed by eminent people like Ghanshyam Sethi, health officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Reni K. Jacob, director advocacy, World Vision, and Dana Ward, managing director of Population Services International, among others.

The new global report titled ‘A Fair Chance at Life’ by Save the Children indicates that children from the poorest communities in India are three times more likely to die before they reach the age of five than those from high income groups.

According to the NGO, India’s child mortality level is the highest in the world. Every year nearly 20 lakh children die in India from preventable illnesses.

“Although India has seen unprecedented economic growth and progress, it stands at a crossroads in respect to child mortality. A similar leadership on the critical issue of child survival and health should be done. With just five years left to achieve the MDG, it is imperative that the prime minister join the other world leaders and participate in the UN summit,” the statement added.

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