Chennai: India`s under five mortality rate has decreased much faster than the global average and there has been a quantum jump in the annual rate of decline, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Thursday.
While the country`s under five mortality has declined much faster than the global average, "what is extremely heartening is the fact that there is quantum jump in the annual rate of decline in the recent past and that decline in child deaths in rural areas and in states with weak health indicators is both sharp and steady", he said.
"We aim to cover over 27 crore children from birth to 18 years of age for early identification of the 4 Ds, that is, defects at birth, diseases, deficiencies and developmental delays including disabilities," Azad said at the `Call For Action Summit for Child Survival and Development` at Mamallapuram near here.
He said several innovations that the government has taken under the National Rural Health Mission have started showing good results.
"This progress has encouraged us to expand our horizons and reach children in all possible spaces - at birth, in hospitals, in anganwadis, in schools and in communities to not only improve child survival outcomes but also ensure overall quality of life of our children through innovative service delivery mechanisms," Azad said.
He said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had launched a new National initiative `Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)` which puts in place universal health screening of children and early intervention services.
The minister also announced that states will now be able to receive additional funding for sector wide reforms from the incentive fund under NRHM. He also cautioned that failure to make progress on fundamental imperatives may attract disincentives.