Child and adolescent health and development

Remarkable progress, new horizons and renewed commitment

Ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths in South-East Asia Region
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region, released the publication “Remarkable, progress, new horizons and renewed commitment - ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths in the region” during the Sixty-ninth Session of the Regional Committee of the WHO South-East Asia Region. At the threshold of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era, this document captures the remarkable achievements by Member States towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5. It acknowledges new opportunities in the post-2015 phase shaped by the SDGs and the Global Strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and presents an advanced state of preparedness in the Region. This also highlights the region’s renewed commitment for a more inclusive and more dynamic flagship action for ending preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality as well as to improve women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing in the South-East Asia Region.

Ending Preventable Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality

Under the Regional Flagship project on ending preventable maternal and child mortality with a focus on reducing newborn mortality, the WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia has appointed the Technical Advisory Group (SEAR-TAG) to provide guidance to national governments, implementing partners and other stakeholders on how best to accelerate implementation of strategies, and monitor these. The inaugural meeting of SEAR-TAG was organized on 15–18 December 2015 to evolve a shared understanding of priorities, challenges and high impact approaches for reducing newborn mortality.

SEAR-TAG members, RMNCAH nodal persons from the ministries of health from Member States, representatives of UN agencies and other partners, INGOS and NGOs, representatives of Professional associations and WHO Collaborating Centres participated in the meeting. There were deliberations to examine and identify ways to expand equitable coverage of evidence-based interventions for mothers and newborns; improving quality of care; and improve registration of births and deaths of mothers and newborns as well as stillbirths. The report provides the summary of proceedings of the SEAR-TAG meeting and the recommendations.

Hospital-based Birth Defects Surveillance

Birth defect has been an emerging major cause of child mortality in the region. Scarcity of the birth defects information hampers policy decisions and control measures at national level. In order to create evidence for action for birth defects prevention in the region, WHO-SEARO in collaboration with CDC, USA has developed and launched a regional electronic database on birth defects. This surveillance database allows data collection on newborn health, birth defects and stillbirths cases and provides real time information at hospitals and national level.

Training of the hospital health staffs and data managers in the birth defects surveillance network; at regional, national and at hospital levels is recognized as essential for expansion of this database and to assure quality of data. A two days training module for hospital based birth defects surveillance was developed using a guide for operation and facilitator guide. These publications provide detailed step by step guidance to the facilitator on essential areas in the hospital based birth defects surveillance and would help the facilitator to conduct effective training sessions. These publications would empower the national and hospital level program managers to train and retrain their staffs in the hospital based birth defects surveillance programme.

Improving the Quality of Care for Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health in South-East Asia Region

A Regional Framework
The Regional Framework on improving quality of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) aims to position quality of care at the centre of universal health coverage and in post- 2015 development priorities and ensure quality of care receives the attention it deserves. The structured framework and assessment tools developed consensually to establish a quality improvement (QI) process with which the Member States could achieve the global standards of RMNCAH continuum at all levels of care and aims to achieve “effective coverage” in the Region and matches with the advocacy for concerted efforts to accelerate progress towards achievement of MDGs 4 and 5. This framework will be useful for partner agencies, professional associations and other national stakeholders.

Child and Adolescent Health Unit
Department of Family Health Gender and Life Course (FGL)
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 :