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UK aid for India

24th August 2006

24082006_indian_women1.jpgHilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for International Development, has announced £252 million ($470 million) for an initiative designed to save one million lives every year in India.

The funds will be spent over five years in support of the second phase of the Government of India’s nationwide Reproductive and Child Health Programme. Other donors include the World Bank, the European Commission, USAID and a number of UN agencies including UNICEF.

Across the world, 530,000 mothers die each year while giving birth. One in five of those deaths are in India. More than 10 million children die before the age of five every year, and one in four of all these deaths occur in India, with 1.2 million infants dying within a month of their birth.

The programme will provide care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and childhood, including skilled birth attendance, obstetric emergency care, community based care for newborn children, immunisation, adolescent health and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections. UK funding will be used for upgrading maternity facilities, increasing the number of skilled midwives at births, purchasing essential drugs, equipment, staff training, health awareness drives, developing strategies to improve adolescent health and promoting partnerships with the private sector and NGOs for reaching the poor.

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