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Engaging Adolescent Girls as Champions for Newborn Girl Child Survival in India

India is committed to improving its child survival rate and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the state of Bihar is the same as India as a whole: 32 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, in Bihar, gender differentials in the IMR are significant: 30 per 1,000 live births for male children against 35 per 1,000 live births for female children. The first one month of a child’s life is most crucial, with more than two-thirds of infant deaths occurring during this period. These deaths could be prevented by following simple practices on early newborn care.

With support from UNICEF, EngenderHealth embarked on a two-month project to improve the survival of newborn girls by addressing gender differentials in newborn care. The project expanded on inroads made by the Packard Foundation-supported TARUNYA project in same region, which provides technical assistance to the National Adolescent Health Program. As part of the TARUNYA project, EngenderHealth identified and trained Adolescent Peer Educators (PE) on adolescent health issues. For the newborn girl child survival project, we engaged adolescent girl PEs as champions (adolescent girl champions – AGCs) in eight blocks of the Sitamarhi district. These AGCs, supported by frontline workers, disseminated messages on newborn care practices during the first one month of life to the families of newborn girls.

For further information about the adolescent girl champions initiative, view the project brief.

Learn more about the Adolescent Girls Champions, EngenderHealth’s work in India, and our commitment to youth-centered programming in the resources below.

She Helps Her Thrive: Adolescent Girl Champions Bring New Hope for Newborn Girls

Adolescent Girl Champions: Helping Save Newborn Girl Lives

Project Dissemination Webinar: Meaningful Engagement of Adolescent Girls as Champions for Newborn Girl Survival in India

Featuring: Dr. Zoya Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; Adolescent Girl Champions: Muskaan Priya, Rupa Kumari, and Alka Kumari; Dr. Priyanka Kochar, Senior Program Officer, EngenderHealth; Dr. Ajay Khera, India Country Representative, EngenderHealth; Ana Aguilera, Deputy Director, Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health, EngenderHealth; Luigi D’Aquino, Chief of Health, UNICEF India; Anand Sinha, Country Advisor, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Dr. Sunita Singal, India Deputy Country Representative and Technical Director, EngenderHealth

Related resources: