The United Nations Development Program, along with the Norwegian government, has signed an agreement that will see them continue an initiative to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in four states in India.
Selected interventions under the five-year Norway India Partnership Agreement Initiative (NIPI) will also be made in several other states, including Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Jharkhand, a Norwegian embassy statement said Friday.
"The first phase of NIPI focused on demonstrating innovative service delivery models at state and district levels. This is now being scaled up as part of the National Rural Health Mission of the ministry of health and family welfare," a Norwegian embassy statement said Friday.
A key focus of the second phase of the initiative is to improve the quality and delivery of National Rural Health Mission units at state and district levels and establishing state newborn care resource centres. The partnership will use a mix of advisory services, technical assistance and project management services from UNDP, the statement added.
According to Norwegian ambassador Eivind Homme, "NIPI is a result of commitments by the prime ministers of Norway and India to reduce child mortality and achieve Millennium Development Goal 4. Partnering with UNDP will strengthen the component of institutional capacity building of NIPI".
"This will facilitate uptake of innovations and technologies for quality and equitably delivered health services for children in India. Norway is excited about the collaboration with the Government of India and the UNDP on this important initiative," he added.
Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative noted that while India has made significant improvements in child survival rates in the under-five age-group, MDGs related to maternal and child mortality rates "are unlikely to be met".
The UNDP-Norwegian partnership "represents an important initiative to support the government in improving administrative efficiency and state capacities aimed at delivering better healthcare services to mothers and children across the country", Grande added.