UN-led campaign to provide affordable health care for Indian women

A healthy mother with her newborn in India

8 April 2010 – Tens of thousands of Indian women and their families will have access to quality maternal and child health-care services thanks to a partnership announced today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a chain of small hospitals in India for low-income clients.

LifeSpring Hospitals has signed up to the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a UNDP supported global initiative challenging companies to apply their business expertise, technology and innovative spirit to tackling poverty and accelerating progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight targets designed to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, maternal and child deaths and other problems, all by 2015.

Today’s announcement makes LifeSpring Hospitals the first health-care chain to join the BCtA, and means an estimated 82,000 women and their families will have access to better care. “Meeting the health needs of women and children is especially important as the MDG to improve maternal health has made the least progress so far,” said Natalie Africa, Programme Manager for the Business Call to Action.

“Innovative business models such as LifeSpring Hospitals are helping to make real, sustainable progress by providing women with quality, low-cost health care,” she added.

Each LifeSpring Hospital accommodates 20 to 25 beds, and can provide lower-income mothers with healthcare and delivery services at 30 to 50 per cent of market rates, as well as pediatric care and immunizations.

More than 100,000 pregnancy-related deaths occur each year in India, according to UNDP. Another 100,000 women annually suffer from infections due to pregnancy.

Most of these deaths and complications could be averted by providing a standardized level of care, but according to a press release issued by UNDP, quality health care in much of India is associated with high prices and is out of reach for many of the country’s poorer citizens.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for greater action to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. He will host a special thematic debate during the General Assembly high-level debate in September in New York.

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