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Philips and Save the Children collaborate towards prevention of Childhood Pneumonia in India

Nov 05, 2019

The two-year pilot titled ‘Project VISHWAS' (Breath of Hope) will bring high-quality pneumonia care to approximately 90,000 under-five children.

New Delhi: Every year more than 140,000 children under five years of age die from pneumonia in India – a staggering one child every four minutes. This makes Childhood Pneumonia the largest contributor to under-5 deaths in India. With the absence of awareness on the disease and accessible quality treatments at both community and public health facility level, the most disadvantaged children are the worst affected.

Committed to addressing this silent emergency in the country, Philips India, Philips Foundation (the platform of societal activities of Royal Philips) and Save the Children (global child rights organization) have joined hands to develop and prove low-cost innovative approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Pneumonia.

The two-year pilot titled ‘Project VISHWAS (Breath of Hope)’will bring high-quality pneumonia care to approximately 90,000 under-five children across 45 urban wards of Tonk District in Rajasthan, and two rural blocks (Prayagpur and Huzoorpur) of Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh - two of the five worst-affected states. The primary outcome expected from this programme are (1)m-health solutions (app-based) for improved awareness on prevention and care-seeking practices in affected communities, and (2) effective treatment and management of pneumonia cases at community and healthcare facility levels.

This partnership, unlike other CSR initiatives, focuses on collaboratively designing a systemic change model that integrates point of care, early detection and mobile health technology, with transformative behavior change communication solutions. Determined to drive change with experts, the group has on-boarded ZMQ – a leading social enterprise to design a practical m-health (app based) technology towards introducing social behavior change communications. Philips and the Philips Foundation will provide technical expertise to support the development of an ICT-based case management tool for informed decision making at the facility level. Save the Children brings to the partnership on-ground experience of reforming institutional and frontline healthcare delivery, and subject-specific technical expertise.

Speaking on the collaboration, Margot Cooijmans, Director, Philips Foundation said, “The Philips Foundation believes that through meaningful innovation, we can provide access to quality healthcare and improve the lives of people in disadvantaged communities.”

CEO of Save the Children India, Bidisha Pillai, adds - “We are thrilled that a transformational partnership of this scale provides us with an ideal opportunity to address Save the Children’s global breakthrough (2030) -‘No child dies before his/her 5th birthday due to a preventable cause’ - by reaching 90,000+ most marginalized children with appropriate care for pneumonia. We hope this co-creation model inspires other collaborators and sets fresh standards for private-civil society partnerships towards jointly addressing social challenges at a global scale.”

Towards the larger aim of wide-scale replication by the government, the programme will adopt strategies aligned with the government-endorsed PPDT framework (Prevent, Protect, Diagnose, Treat & Manage) under Integrated Action Plan for Diarrhea and Pneumonia. The programme resonates with Prime Minister Modi’s clarion call for building transformational partnerships towards setting global benchmarks for quality management of childhood pneumonia in India (at the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) Partners’ Summit held in November 2018).

The collaboration will condense learnings and best-practices from the programme towards building an evidence-backed case for reducing Childhood Pneumonia in India on the merit of ‘shared value partnership’. Reduction of under-five mortality from 39 in 1000 live births in 2016 to 23 by 2025 is one of the prime goals of India’s National Health Policy 2017. In order to achieve this goal, mortality due to childhood pneumonia needs to be reduced to less than 3 per 1000 live births from the current level of 5.7 per 1000 live births, which is also in tune with the goal of India’s Integrated Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (IAPPD).

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