On April 18th, AIF held The Maternal and Neonatal Survival Initiative (MANSI) Summit at the Merck Research Laboratories. According to UNICEF, nearly a quarter of all maternal deaths worldwide occur in India. This inaugural event brought together over 100 leaders from academic institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical companies, and non-profit organizations to promote awareness and best practices of maternal and neonatal health challenges in India.
“It was inspiring to see individuals and organizations from all sectors come together to engage in this very important discussion,” said Ravi Kumar, the CEO of the American India Foundation.” AIF strongly believes collaboration is imperative in solving critical issues such as maternal and neonatal health.”
Top thought-leaders from around the world attended and shared their insights and best practices. Sunil Bhaskaran, the Vice President of Corporate Services for Tata Steel, spoke about the value of public-private partnerships; specifically among AIF, Tata Steel, and the Indian government for the MANSI Program. “We know we need to have partnerships because these issues we are fighting are so huge,” said Bhaskaran. “We have to combine our strength, so that we can scale up.”
Katherine Semrau, the Director of the BetterBirth Program at Ariadne Labs, spoke about the innovative healthcare work happening in Uttar Pradesh. She discussed the state’s improvements in the quality of facility-based deliveries. Additional thought-leaders at the summit included Natalie Africa of the United Nations Foundation, Gary Darmstadt of Stanford University, Charu Johri of AIF, Lily Kak of USAID, and K. Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
“This is just the beginning,” said Sunita Pereira, an AIF Trustee and Chair of the MANSI Advisory Council. “Moving forward, AIF and its partners plan to keep the discussion going in order to address India’s maternal and neonatal health challenges.”