India has pledged to spend $100 billion more on health care over the next seven years with an emphasis on reducing maternal mortality rates, the Guardian reports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the commitment Wednesday at the 2018 Partners Forum, where organizations joined together to work on improving maternal and child health.
India’s increased budget is part of an effort to reduce maternal and infant deaths before the Sustainable Development Global Goals deadline in 2030.
The India story is one of hope. We are fully committed to provide accessible and affordable healthcare for the poor. pic.twitter.com/T1oDSPTmxo— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 12, 2018
Modi explained India has made progress lowering the maternal and child mortality rates since the original blueprint, the Millennium Development Goals, were first set in 2000.
India has reason to act on the global issue. About 800 women die every day of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth around the world, 20% of which are from India, according to UNICEF. Many women in India are especially at risk because of their economic situation — mothers in the lowest economic bracket have about a two-and-a-half times higher mortality rate. On average, a child born in a low-income country is 11 times more likely to die before the age of 5.
The good news is India reduced its maternal mortality rate from 556 deaths per 100,000 live births to 174 between 1990 and 2015, according to the World Bank. Modi cited a range of health programs, namely immunization programs have helped. Over the last three years, 32.8 million children and 8.4 million pregnant women were immunized, according to the Guardian.
Additionally, Modi said India is lowering maternal and infant mortality rates by offering better prenatal care and newborn facilities, pushing hospital over home delivery, providing free health checkups, and addressing malnutrition.
“The health of mothers will determine the health of the children and the health of children will determine the health of our tomorrow,” he said.