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India sets targets to slash neonatal mortality, with known interventions that haven’t spread enough

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6059 (Published 07 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6059
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India has outlined a set of targets and timelines to expand antenatal and postnatal healthcare interventions to reduce neonatal mortality from 29 per 1000 live births in 2012 to 21 per 1000 by 2020 and to a single digit figure by 2030.

The India Newborn Action Plan, released last month by the health ministry, has set numerical targets to increase the proportion of babies resuscitated after birth asphyxia, breast fed in the first hour, and provided home based newborn care from health workers. The plan also seeks to expand the use of antenatal corticosteroids in women with preterm labour and train health workers to provide gentamicin to newborn babies with sepsis.

Shikhar Jain, a paediatrician in the central Indian town of Indore and president of the National Neonatology Forum, was among a group of experts that drafted the plan. He told The BMJ, “This is the first time the health ministry has committed itself with targets and timelines on neonatal mortality.”

India’s National Rural …

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