A memorandum of understanding (MoU) that sees the second phase of a $50 million Norway-India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) on reducing infant and maternal mortality rates was signed in the presence of Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The first phase of the partnership was initiated by the Prime Ministers of Norway and India, Jens Stoltenberg and Manmohan Singh in 2006 towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.
The programme, designed to improve delivery of infant and maternal health services in select Indian states under the umbrella of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) now enters its second phase, which will run from 2013 to 2017.
Speaking on the occasion, Norwegian ambassador Eivind S. Homme, noted that "the success of the first phase towards contributions to the NRHM for scaling up of home-based newborn care, sick and newborn care units and techno-managerial support has been very encouraging for all of us".
"With the Phase II in place now, we hope to contribute to the overall NRHM goals in the country" Homme added.
NIPI completed its first phase of operation in 2012 in the focus states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Rajasthan. Based on the experiences gained and results achieved since the beginning of NIPI in 2006, the duration of the program is now extended to coincide with the new NRHM plan 2013-2017. NIPI Phase II will continue in the same states of the first phase. NIPI interventions will also be made available to demonstration districts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
"Since its inception, NIPI has demonstrated some clear successes enhancing the visibility of the child health issues with special focus on survival of the newborn. NIPI will continue with a focus on maternal and new-born health, especially the continuum of care from home to facility, and capacity building of health personnel," a Norwegian embassy statement saod.
The partnership will in phase II focus on:
* Improving and scaling up quality continuum of care interventions at community and facility level in NIPI and selected non-NIPI districts.
* Establish a mechanism for sustainable institutional collaboration between Norwegian and Indian public and private institutions in areas related to women's and children's health.
* Facilitate a dialogue on global health between Norway and India.