Community, pvt sector involvement crucial to achieving health goals: UNICEF official

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 25 (PTI)Private sector involvement and systemic quality improvement were crucial to minimising maternal and infant mortality rates in India and other parts of the world and thereby achieving the health- related targets of the UN, a UNICEF official said.

Addressing a webinar on 'Achieving SDGs related to Maternal Mortality Rate and IMR Dream or Reality,' organised by the state Department of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday, Paul Rutter, Regional Advisor (Health) of UNICEF lauded Kerala for ensuring community engagement, social accountability, and decentralised governance in primary healthcare.

Listing a number of other steps required to be taken in the country and elsewhere, Rutter said key interventions to improve coverage and quality and a strong primary healthcare founded in communities should be the base for achieving universal health coverage and meeting the SDGs by 2030.

'Private sector engagement and systemic quality improvement are keys to accelerating the healthcare programme,' he noted.

Explaining the components of quality, he said ensuring availability of essential medicines and compliance with evidence-based clinical interventions and practices, besides ramping up infrastructure, was of paramount importance to drastically reduce the death rates.

The number of deaths due to poor quality of services was far greater at 5 million a year in the world than due to non- utilisation of health services which stood at 3.5 million, he pointed out.

For South Asia, the figures stood at one million and 1.9 million.

In terms of percentage, it was 58 for the world and 64 for South Asia, the UNICEFofficial said.

He advised governments across the globe to support research in vaccines and medicines and increase budget allocations for health and health workers.

He suggested that halving the number of deaths and injuries caused in traffic accidents would also be of help.

On reproductive health, the official said offering universal access was the key.

The second phase of the five-day international Health Webinar began on Wednesday with one session today and another on Friday.

The webinar series was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on February 17. PTI LGK ROH ROH