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India urges UN member nations to continue financial support to health initiatives

New Delhi, Thu, 26 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 26 (ANI): India on Thursday urged the UN member nations to continue their financial and technical support to public health initiatives.

Discussions were held today between Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The UN Secretary General is presently on a three-day official visit to India beginning today.

Ban Ki-Moon's visit is focusing on important issues related to public health. Azad conveyed to UN Secretary General that "this is an opportune moment, your excellency, for you to use your good offices to urge member nations to not reduce their financial and technical support to public health initiatives for the common benefit of the global community."

Azad recalled that recently United Nations organized High level Meetings of the Heads of States', Heads of Governments' and Health Ministers' from across the globe on the most vital subjects of HIV/AIDS and Non-Communicable Diseases in the months of June and September, 2011 respectively.

He informed that the National AIDS Control Programme with 100 percent federal funding has succeeded in reducing the number of annual new HIV infections by over 56 percent during the last decade. India has the world's largest HIV surveillance network with more than 1300 sentinel sites among key risk groups enabling effective targeting of prevention and treatment interventions to the right population groups and geographic areas and sustain an IEC campaign aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

"The Government of India has decided to carry the work against HIV/AIDS forward by funding the phase IV of the National AIDS Control Programme through domestic resources," he added. Azad also highlighted that WHO has recently taken India off the list of Polio endemic countries.

As regards Non Communicable Diseases, Azad said that Secretary General's efforts at sensitizing the global leadership about the challenges posed by the rapidly rising threat of NCDs, across the world - in both developed and developing countries, is appreciable.

He said that, ahead of the UN General Assembly special session, India conceived and launched national programmes for screening, early detection and treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases such as Diabetes, Cardio-Vascular Diseases, Cancer and Stroke as well as for health care of the elderly.

As prevention by raising awareness is an effective way of dealing with challenges, he mentioned that on this World Health Day, the Ministry has taken a new initiative of reaching out to masses through the medium of television and radio channels so that benefits of programmes of the Ministry such as the Janani Suraksha Yojna, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram, special programmes launched to combat neonatal and infant mortality - for instance operationalizing essential and advanced new-born care at various levels of health facilities, Home Based New-born Care Scheme and Mother and Child Tracking System actually reach the people.

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon fondly recalled his long association with India. He said India is one of the important member states of UN.

While taking cognizance of work still to be done to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Ban Ki-Moon said he would like to showcase India's experiences and best practices in dealing with maternal and child health issues for others to follow.

He commended India's success in combating polio, and said that they would wish to help India in dealing with polio, malaria, tetanus, measles and HIV transmission related mortality. (ANI)


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