The MP health department has planned to take measures to keep a check on the nourishment of mothers and infants, after several cases of malnourishment-related deaths were reported from Sheopur, Rewa and Satna districts over the past few months.
Steps are also being taken to reduce the infant mortality rate in Madhya Pradesh, health minister Rustam Singh told HT.
“We have seen the condition of infants in Madhya Pradesh and have realised that regular measures can help us to keep track of what children and their mother are facing in remote districts. The Sheopur cases have been a lesson,” said Singh.
According to the minister, a squad from the health department will visit the infant’s house 10 days after it is born to check on his/her health and nourishment. The squad will also check if the mother is getting the required supplements or not. After the preliminary check up, the squad will do a follow-up visit two months later, followed by a final check up four months later. If the infant requires treatment, the health department will bear the cost.
These measures will be applicable in all districts of the state.
“This will not only help us to check malnutrition but will also help us diagnose other diseases. Infant mortality will be reduced through this step,” Singh said.
According to the National Family Health Survey – 4.51 infants die in MP per 1000 births —one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. The state also has the second highest under-five mortality rate, according to a recent release of the Sample Research Survey-2014.
Recent cases of malnutrition-related deaths
December 12: Three girls between the ages 2 and 3 years died of malnutrition in Satna district within 24 hours
October 14: Rewa district reported at least four malnutrition deaths over a period of three months
September/ October : An estimated 116 infants died in Sheopur district over a period of 5 months, the government only confirmed 21 deaths