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PM Narendra Modi at UN, hope India sticks this time to the goals on saving lives

India along with 194 other nations will adopt Sustainable Development Goals, on September 25 at the United Nations.

twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma        Last Updated: September 28, 2015  | 18:38 IST

E Kumar Sharma, Associate Editor
E Kumar Sharma, Associate Editor
Today, September 25th, is arguably an important day for India. Last month, the 15 year period since year 2000 ended for reaching the Milllennium Development Goals. As these goals get replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), India along with 194 other nations, will adopt them on September 25th at the United Nations . Hence it is time for the country and its policy makers to do some serious introspection.

Over 150 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi , are expected to attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit (September 25th to 27th) and adopt the 17 SDGs. India has enough policy makers who are bright and informed people who know adopting these goals will not be without its share of challenges but then, even if daunting, can India strive to ensure it stick to the new set of goals, particularly those that deal with saving lives - both infant and maternal?

As many would know, India has fallen short of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Consider this: According to the National Health Profile 2015 brought out by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in 2015, the infant mortality rate that India touched is 40 deaths per 1000 live births missing the MDGs target of 27 with a considerable margin.

What is more disturbing is the high mortality rate in India. We can see 49 per thousand live births as against a target of 42 under the MDGs.
The goal under the SDG to be achieved by 2030 is now 25.

Similarly, for maternal mortality ratio, India today talks of 140 per 100,000 live births as against a goal of 109. Now, under SDG, the goal is less than 70 by 2030.

The SDGs have a 15-year horizon for the 21 anti-poverty targets established in 2000 by the eight Millennium Development Goals. As is apparent, the SDGs are meant to pick up from where the MDGs timeframe concludes. There are now heightened concerns on not just eradicating poverty and creating equal opportunity for women and girls but also on protecting the planet and setting the course for a resilient future.

What needs mention is that the 17 goals and 169 targets that make up the SDGs have been developed with crucial inputs from civic groups. There is important contribution from India too.

For instance, Dr Srinath Reddy, President at the Public Health Foundation of India, is also the co-chair of the United Nations 'Health for All' under the Sustainable Development Solutions Network global initiative.

While, here is the link to the sustainable goals: what may be worth looking at closely are the dozen pointers listed below:

1. By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
2. By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under 5 mortality should be at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.
3. By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
4. By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
5. Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
6. By 2030, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
7. By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
8. Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
9. By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
10. Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.
11. Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all.
12. Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States.


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