Child and adolescent health and development

Meeting of SEAR Technical Advisory Group (SEAR-TAG) 2015

The South-East Asia Regional Technical Advisory Group (SEAR-TAG) has been established by the Regional Director for providing technical guidance for accelerating reduction in newborn, child and maternal mortality in the Region. SEAR-TAG consists of 12 eminent technical experts from global and regional levels. The first meeting was held on 15-18 December 2015.

The focus in this meeting was on addressing the issue of high newborn mortality in the Region through the global approach of every newborn action plan that will have additional benefits of reduction in stillbirths and maternal mortality. Key thematic areas for deliberations in the meeting included: Expanding coverage of essential interventions and reaching the unreached, improving quality of care, engaging communities and improving accountability towards health of women, newborns and children.

Call to end preventable newborn, child and maternal mortality in South-East Asia Region

Regional H4+ Joint Statement for ending preventable newborn, child and maternal mortality was released by the Regional Directors of the six H4+ agencies: WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, UNAIDS and UN WOMEN in Dec 2015.
This regional collaborative mechanism will play an important role during the implementation of the UNSG’s Global Strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health during the SDG phase in Member States of South-East Asia Region. This would directly contribute to target 17 ‘Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development’ under the SDG-3.
The Joint Statement pledges collective support to Member States to accelerate actions for universal access to good quality essential services prioritizing care for mothers and newborns focusing at the time of childbirth and first few days of life; urgently reaching the unreached by strengthening health system and community engagement.

Neonatal–perinatal database and birth defects surveillance

Report of the regional review meeting, New Delhi, India, 19–21 August 2014
Nearly 3.3 million children under five years of age die every year due to birth defects globally. An estimate of 3.2 million of those who survive may have lifelong mental, physical, auditory or visual disability. As the morbidity due to communicable disease is decreasing, birth defects is taking prominence as a significant cause of under-five year morbidity and mortality. The irony is that most of these conditions are preventable with a very high coverage of available interventions.

WHO-South-East Asia Regional Office in collaboration with CDC, USA, had taken the lead to address the challenges faced in the Region on birth defects prevention. A regional strategic framework was developed through expert group consultation. It was shared among Member States to prepare a national action plan to address newborn health and birth defects.

Prevention and surveillance of birth defects

Report of a meeting of regional programme managers, 14–16 April 2015, New Delhi, India
Birth Defects (BD) have been recognized as an emerging cause of under-five morbidity and mortality. The World Health Assembly resolution WHA63.17 in May 2010 has prompted the collaborative efforts of WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and CDC-USA to address Regional priorities on neonatal-perinatal health and BD.

Under the WHO-SEARO and CDC collaboration in the area of prevention of BD several landmarks have been achieved, including development of a regional strategic framework for prevention and control of BD and national plans on BD among nine countries from the Region.

Dr Neena Raina
Regional Adviser, Child and Adolescent Health
World Health Organization - SEARO
IP Estate, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, 110 002 India
Tel : +91 11 2337 0804 Ext: 26315 Fax : +91 11 2337 8510
Email : secah@who.int