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ISLAMABAD, Jan 30: Pakistan and Norway here on Friday signed Norway-Pakistan Partnership Initiative (NPPI) to provide better healthcare facilities to mother and newborn children.

Norwegian government would provide 50 million krone (about $50 million) each year for this five-year long programme which would be started in ten districts of Sindh.

The agreement was signed by Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Farrakh Qayyum and Deputy Secretary General for Development Cooperation, Norway, Atle Leikvoll on behalf of their respective governments.

Ambassador of Norway, Robert Kvile and UN representative were also present on the occasion.

According to the agreement, the governments of Norway and Pakistan would engage in joint partnership and Norway-Pakistan Partnership Initiative to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality rates in Pakistan.

The NPPI will be implemented in ten rural districts of Sindh province which have been selected on the basis of high maternal and child mortality rates as well as inadequate health systems.

The initiative aims at reducing maternal and child mortality rates with about 40 per cent during the five year period for project implementation from 2009-13, through a variety of carefully selected interventions from a wide range of agencies.

The Norwegian support would be channeled through three UN agencies working together with the one UN programme mechanisms.

The initiative is in line with the global campaign for health millennium development goals, Farrukh Qayyum said adding that the initiative aims to support and develop Pakistan's health systems to deliver a set of integrated and affordable interventions to improve mother and child health.

Speaking on the occasion, Atle Leikvoll said that Norway and Pakistan would continue cooperation adding Norway was undertaking healthcare initiatives in a few countries, including Pakistan.—APP