On May 6, the National Maternal and Child Survival Committee of Afghanistan launched the revised Child and Adolescent Health Policy and Strategy and presented the Reproductive Health Strategy at its inaugural meeting. The revised policy and strategy aim to reduce neonatal, infant, and child mortality, and stress the need for coordination between the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and all its partners to reach the objectives of the National Health and Nutrition Strategy by 2013.
Acting Minister of Public Health Dr. Suraya Dalil chaired the inaugural meeting, bringing together several ministries, donor agencies, UN agencies, academic institutions, private sector representatives, and non-governmental and civil society organizations that contribute to maternal, neonatal, and child survival in Afghanistan. In her remarks, Dr. Dalil noted that despite formidable progress in the area of maternal and child health since 2002, too many newborns and children are dying every day in Afghanistan, mostly from preventable or easily curable conditions. Dr. Dalil urged all members to contribute to the effort to reach Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goal, and stated, “Through the implementation of the revised policy, the [MoPH] intends to reduce infant mortality by 30 percent and child mortality by 35 percent.”
Established with support from USAID’s Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival project, the National Maternal and Child Survival Committee will raise the issue of maternal and child survival with the government of Afghanistan, development partners, and other parties responsible for the health and wellbeing of Afghanistan’s mothers and children. It will also ensure that the strategies for reducing maternal and child mortality include the empowerment of families with the knowledge, skills, and behavior to ensure safe motherhood, healthy children, and a good start in life for newborns. Additionally, the committee will focus resources toward the implementation of cost-effective interventions that reduce maternal, infant, and child mortality in Afghanistan. It will monitor progress and evaluate outcomes of maternal and child survival activities and track the allocation and use of financial resources for achieving national health objectives. Finally, it will improve coordination, communication, and knowledge sharing among the key actors concerned with maternal and child survival. To achieve these goals so essential to the health of mothers and children, the committee will meet every four months