Building Capacity to Improve Healthcare Services for Children

Sep 11, 2013

New Delhi - A training workshop to build capacities of state nodal officers in implementing the ambitious Rashtriya Bal Swathya Karyakaram (RBSK), a Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services Programme, was organized today by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Out of every 100 babies born in India annually, 6 to 7 have a birth defect. Various nutritional deficiencies affecting the preschool children range from 4 percent to 70 percent. Developmental delays are also common in early childhood affecting at least 10 percent of the children. In view of this, RBSK was launched countrywide in February 2013 as part of the National Rural Health mission. It aims to provide comprehensive healthcare to children and improve the quality of life through early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays including disability, or the four Ds. The programme is estimated to cover 2.7 crore children through a phased approach. Dedicated mobile health teams will be placed in every block in the country, and District Early Intervention Centers in all district hospitals established will provide facilities for further investigation, treatment and management.

Delivering the keynote address, Ms. Anuradha Gupta, the Additional Secretary and Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission said, “RBSK is an opportunity to bring succor to a large number of preschool and school-age children who suffer from a variety of conditions which can be addressed through a systematic public health approach. RBSK is a comprehensive approach of identifying children by mobile teams, managing them through the District Early Intervention Center approach and by referral to other higher centers, where specific treatment and rehabilitation facilities are available.”

The training programme was attended by RBSK nodal officers of all states and Union Territories of India, who utilized the opportunity to not only understand the tools and the guidelines of the programme, but also to exchange best practices. Experts on childhood development and rehabilitation from National Institutes and Organizations working on birth defects also participated and contributed to the deliberations.

The programme is supported by UNDP’s Norway India Partnership Agreement Initiative (NIPI), which is focused on improving administrative efficiency and state capacities towards delivering better healthcare services to mothers and children across the country. Dr. Kaliprasad Pappu, Director, UNDP NIPI said, “It was a privilege to provide technical support to RBSK. The partnership aims to facilitate rapid scale up of quality child health services that are equitable and sustainable.”

The Governments of Norway and India launched the Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) in September 2006 to work together to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 4, which focuses on reducing child mortality by 2015. The Initiative also intends to help the states innovate and pilot new ways of delivering health services, improve health outcomes and generate options for scaling up. 

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