The signing of a Letter of intent in New Delhi 28 September between C.K. Mishra, Secretary Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and the Norwegian Ambassador to India, Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg confirmed the intention of the two governments to enter into a new phase of the cooperation. Centred on the areas of reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health, the partnership between India and Norway will continue to be aligned with the development goals of the Indian Government. These goals are outlined in India’s National Health Policy 2017 for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The new agreement will build upon the previous phases of the Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI). Taking the Indian Government's Intensification Plan for Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival in India as the starting point, the focus will be on innovative, catalytic and strategic support.
Dr. Godal, an internationally renowned public health specialist, who is currently working as a special adviser on global health for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presided over the signing ceremony. Dr. Godal was instrumental in the initial phase of NIPI and visited India for consultations with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding the next phase of the cooperation.
Present at the signing were (from left) Ms. Indhu S. (Consultant and Focal point NIPI and Manager RBSK), Ms. Vandana Gurnani (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), Mr. Manoj Jhalani (Additional Secretary & Mission Director Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), Mr. C.K. Mishra, Secretary Health (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India), Dr. Tore Godal (Special adviser on global health for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mr.Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg (Norwegian Ambassador to India), Dr. Maha-Noor Khan (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ms. Rannveig Rajendram (Counsellor, Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi), Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed Bhat (NIPI Coordination Unit) and Ms. Manisha Verma (Director and Chief Media Officer, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).
Back in 2006, the two countries started to collaborate towards achieving the Millenium Development Goal four, to reduce child mortality based on commitments made by the then Prime Ministers of both countries. The partnership was based on India's health initiative, the National Health Mission (NHM), and aimed at facilitating rapid scale-up of quality child and maternal health services in four high focus states - Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Jammu & Kashmir was later added as a fifth state within NIPI.
In addition to trying out health-system innovations, NIPI has supported NHM by providing credible technical support in the five states and at national level, which has resulted in development and release of multiple policies and guidelines for the NHM.