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India's infant mortality rate declines

Dec 30, 2011

India's infant mortality rate has dropped from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births to 47 - moving a step closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals target of 30, says the Union Health ministry.

New Delhi: The infant mortality rate (IMR) has shown a 3 point decline, dropping from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births to 47 and moving a step closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 30. However, IMR increased by one point in Kerala, Mizoram and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.


According to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS), conducted by the Registrar-General of India, the two worst performing States — Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh — have shown an impressive 5 point decline. In the former, the figure dropped from 67 in 2009 to 62 in 2010 and in the latter, it was from 45 to 40 .

While the IMR national average is 47, it stands at 51 in the rural areas and 31 in the urban regions. However, neo-natal deaths continue to be a challenge where 34 babies are still dying for every 1,000 born. 

Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary P. K. Pradhan said Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura had shown a four-point decline in the IMR. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh have shown a three-point decline.

Similarly, in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the IMR came down by two points while it remained static in Lakshdweep and Puducherry. A one point decline was reported from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Daman and Diu.


Pradhan said efforts would now be focussed on home-based newborn-care as 52% of child deaths took place in the first 28 days of birth. “Home-based newborn-care through Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) has been initiated by providing an incentive of Rs. 250. The purpose of home-based newborn-care is to improve newborn practices at the community level and early detection and referral of sick newborns.”
Mr. Pradhan said the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, providing for free transport, food and drugs and diagnostics to all pregnant women and sick newborns, would further promote institutional delivery and eliminate out-of-pocket expenses, which act as a barrier to seeking institutional care.
Importantly, the government intended to set up facilities such as Special New Born Care Units, New Born Stabilisation Units and New Born Baby Corners at different levels with at least one at the district level.
The mother and child tracking system had evoked a huge response, with 1.32 crore women and 82.6 lakh children already registered, acutely anaemic mothers and low birth weight babies identified and improved universal immunisation programme.

Source : The Hindu
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