India is the largest contributor to the annual global tally of deaths of children under five years old - nearly 2 million. Save the Children is working to help India reach Millenium Development Goal 4 on reducing child mortality by 2/3rd by 2015.
The approach which Save the Children follows in these intervention models is to strengthen the demand on the supply side. Our primary focus is on triggering a community level mechanism which enables every community and each and every family to understand the importance of all basic essential care and services related to maternal, new born, child health and nutrition. This also includes developing coordination between sectors like Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, Department of Health and Family Welfare and Panchayat Raj Institutions. To strengthen the supply side Save the Children is working on enhancing the capacities of grass-root level health workers in the programme area to deliver maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition services with improved quality.
The focus of our Newborn & Child Survival programmes is on demonstrating the replicability of proven high-impact models of care for maternal and newborn child health and nutrition in order to provide an evidence base for the national health system, and to thereby influence policies and programmes to bring about a significant improvement in mortality and under-nutrition rates. We support the public health and nutrition delivery system while directly reducing neonatal, infant and child mortality rates in areas of operation.
Our objectives of our Newborn & Child Survival programs are to increase the chances of survival of children between the ages of 0-5 years, to reduce levels of malnutrition in children & to improve new born and maternal health. We aim to steer the behaviour of communities towards better child health and nutrition practices.
In 2008, Save the Children initiated health and nutrition projects to evaluate interventions within existing large-scale delivery systems (NRHM, ICDS). The project will play a catalytic role within the national health sector, providing helpful insight and guidance into the government health system and the community-based actors who deliver health and nutrition services in India.
On October 5 2009, Save the Children India launched a Newborn & Child Survival campaign, with the aim of waking India up to its alarmingly high level of child mortality, and announcing the start of our five-year mission to make a significant contribution to Millennium Development Goal 4 (a reduction by two-thirds of under-five child mortality by 2015). The launch generated widespread media coverage both in India and around the world, new political and advocacy opportunities and the support of 100, 000 people across the country. We have developed a five-year popular mobilisation strategy for India which sets out the overall vision, goals and objectives for the campaign, and listing key considerations. Over 5 years we will generate public pressure and visible expressions of support for the issue by mobilising 5 million people, including youth (urban and rural) and children, to take action and create a political and social environment to achieve MDG 4.
Our overall strategy is based on the premise that we can and should help to save children’s lives through our direct work.
What we Do:
- Analyse local situation to assess health needs and existing gaps in newborn and care for children under five years.
- Strengthen community involvement and role of civil society partnerships with India’s health systems through advocacy and capacity building.
- Facilitate coordination between the Department of Health and Family Welfare and DWCD to ensure effective delivery of Government’s health and nutrition delivery systems.
- Capacity building of community health workers on maternal and child health nutrition.
Currently Save the Children has Newborn & Child Survival projects in the following states :
- Delhi and Maharashtra - Urban Health
- Bihar, Rajasthan and West Bengal - Health and Nutrition
- Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand - Technical assistance on newborn care through MCHIP (Maternal and Child Health Integrated Programme)