Next five year plan to focus on maternal, child health

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Maternal and child health are expected to be the areas of thrust in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17), Planning Commission member Sayeeda Hameed said at a meeting Thursday.

‘From 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) that is allocated to health care in the country, we are proposing allocating 2-3 percent,’ said Hameed.

‘The Twelfth plan would emphasise on a child health policy,’ said Hameed, adding that 2011 may be declared the year of child and maternal health.

Experts from different backgrounds and members of the civil society here gathered at a public hearing on maternal and child health organised by a voluntary organisation.

The hearing in Delhi is one of the many activities being held in villages of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra.

‘The issue of maternal health goes beyond mere statistics. It is about mothers who lose their children and whose voices go unheard,’ said Rajiv Tandon, newborn and child health expert.

The panelists emphasised on the need for accessibility of basic health services such as sanitation, drinking water, maternal heath care.

‘Every 17 seconds a family loses a child somewhere in our country,’ Tandon added.

Nearly 2 million children die every year in India due to preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.

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