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doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.51 Published online 17 April 2015

Funds for mother-child healthcare, Kala-Azar

NI News Network

Healthcare interventions in India will get a boost with the government Department of Biotechnology (DBT) announcing a $ 2.5 million investment today in collaboration with the Canadian government for focussed interventions in mother and child healthcare and elimination of visceral leishmaniasis or Kala-Azar in Bihar.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Stephan Harper said in a joint statement that five health innovations in these areas will be funded in India by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) and its Indian partner DBT.

Maternal and newborn care is a priority area for both governments. Also, India is one of the six countries that bear 90% of the global burden of visceral leishmaniasis, DBT sources said.

Part of the joint investment would go into an initiative called 'Saving Brains' to nurture healthy child and brain development in the first 1000 days of a child's life. DBT and GCC will help pair private resources with the Anganwadi programme as also fund kangaroo mother care for low birth weight infants in communities.

The collaboration will implement another project called the International Guide for Monitoring Child Development (IGMCD), an individualised technology-aided approach to promote early childhood development in a low income setting in Mumbai.

According to the sources, DBT and GCC will jointly invest $465,000 in a novel project to train accredited social health activists in handling visceral leishmaniasis cases in 25 highly endemic primary health centres of Bihar. The fund will also help track these cases in five such centres.