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Dedicate one month to stabilise population: Health Minister

Friday, July 12, 2019

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan yesterday urged NGOs to dedicate one month every year to work to stabilise the country's population, saying it is necessary to improve the quality of life and achieve universal health coverage.

"Let us work towards not losing any pregnant woman and child to preventable causes," Vardhan said, adding this requires everyone to work together. "The development partners, civil society, private and corporate sector, community leaders and the media, all have critical roles to play," he said.

At an event on World Population Day, the minister said the government is committed to addressing health issues, improving the scale and ensuring accessibility of quality services for everyone. But for that to happen, he stressed, population stabilisation is a crucial determinant. "We need to position health as a component of all public policies. The occasion also provides a valuable and potent platform to discuss issues related to gender equality, maternal and child health, human rights, poverty and other development determinants," he said.

Citing the success of polio eradication programme, he said it taught the government that desired results can be achieved by involving society.

"We have experience of the success stories and learnings from our challenges. We need to leverage on this knowledge and resources to achieve what we have set out for."

Vardhan said his ministry's increased budget this year reflects the importance given to the health sector, including the flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Launching a new awareness campaign on family planning, he stressed on the importance of information and communication to share knowledge with people.

Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey, also attended the event in New Delhi.

The 2019 World Population Day marks 25 years of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo. The 1994 event marked a paradigm shift in policies and placed individuals, their choices and rights at the centre.

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