The project, “Evaluation of the impact of the integrated management of neonatal and childhood illness strategy on neonatal and infant mortality,” is expected to receive 2/3 of its funding from UNICEF and WHO and is co-ordinated by Dr. Nita Bhandari, joint Director of the Society for Applied Studies in New Delhi. It will measure the effect of an Indian programme, “Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness,” where targeted actions are being implemented to reduce the mortality rate among newborns and infants.
Globally, nearly 10 million children under 5 years of age die every year. Reducing child mortality is one of the United Nations’ Millenium Goals. Norwegian authorities are heavily committed to reducing child mortality in the world and have begun work with India amongst others. There are a range of programmes and actions in India to reduce child mortality. A steadily increasing proportion of child deaths occur in the first weeks of life in India so the Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness focuses on interventions shortly after birth, with early home visits and extra follow-up of sick children and advice for the mothers. In a so-called cluster-randomised intervention trial, evaluations have begun on the effect of IMNCI interventions in 18 geographical units in Haryana, a northern Indian state that borders onto Delhi.