The US on Thursday launched a INR 580 million initiative to improve maternal and child health in India, with a focus on Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. The Maternal and Child Health Sustainable Technical Assistance and Research Initiative (MCH STAR) will work to accelerate the resource mobilization of India’s major programmes like the Notational Rural Health Mission and Integrated Child Development Services. “Our aim is to bring real improvements in the lives of women and children. Led by USAID, our Indian partner organisations will help the initiative to achieve success,” USAID mission director George Deikun said. “We are investing INR 581 million and our Indian partners will also mobilise some funds. The funds will be utilised over a period of five years across India with a focus on Uttar Pradseh and Jharkhand,” Deikun told media. “Each activity will respond directly to the programme and policy needs of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradseh. It will demonstrate policy and programme successes that can help others to emulate evidence based practices.” The Indian government has some good programmes, and USAID will work with the ministry of health and family welfare to bring better success. “We need an extended reservoir professional research, public health and technical assistance institutions working at global standards that can support government programmes,” said Naresh Dayal, secretary in the health ministry. “Our country is growing well in almost all fields but our health indicators are poor. It’s a shame to talk at international podiums about Indian’s health parameters. We are trying to better the situation,” he said at the function. Currently, of every 1,000 kids born in the country, nearly 60 die. Similarly, 301 mothers succumb to pregnancy related complications after or during childbirth.