India-Norway partnership has benefited newborns: Report

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS): A partnership between India and Norway in the health sector has brought newborns' health higher up on India's agenda, an evaluation report of the programme released Thursday found.

The Norway-India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) was established in 2006 through a joint statement by the prime ministers of India and Norway.

The vision of NIPI is to provide catalytic, strategic support that would make a vital and sustainable difference to scaling up quality child health services in India under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

The establishment of newborn care units in district hospitals and follow up of newborns' health at home have saved many lives, especially in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha where the partnership has been very successful, the report said.

"One key reason for the good results is the very close cooperation between the two governments," Norwegian Ambassador to India Eivind Homme said while releasing the report here.

"NIPI has worked together with NRHM since the beginning and we are proud to continue these joint efforts and close dialogue in the next phase of the programme," he said, according to a release issued Thursday.

The evaluation found that after six years, NIPI has largely achieved its goals. Several of the activities introduced by NIPI have been scaled up across Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan through NRHM.

Some activities have even reached national level like home-based newborn care, where ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Workers) visit newborns at home during the first six weeks after birth.

Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju said: "With the opportunities NRHM provides to the public health system, it is important to learn from the findings that we heard of today".



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