As infant mortality rate rises, Uttarakhand works to reduce neonatal deaths | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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As infant mortality rate rises, Uttarakhand works to reduce neonatal deaths

Concerned over the spike in the infant mortality rate (IMR) in Uttarakhand, the state health department is focusing on reducing the deaths of babies less than a month old, a top official said on Thursday

dehradun Updated: Oct 26, 2017 19:54 IST
Neha Pant
Infant mortality rate has risen from 34 in 2015 to 38 in 2016 in Uttarakhand, according to a survey.
Infant mortality rate has risen from 34 in 2015 to 38 in 2016 in Uttarakhand, according to a survey.(HT File Photo)

Concerned over the spike in the infant mortality rate (IMR) in Uttarakhand, the state health department is focusing on reducing the deaths of babies less than a month old, a top official said on Thursday.

According to the recently released Sample Registration System (SRS) survey report, the IMR--the number of infant deaths less than one year of age per thousand live births--has risen from 34 in 2015 to 38 in 2016 in the hill state.

In 2016, the SRS report revealed that there were more than 79% infant mortalities in Uttarakhand that took place within the first 28 days of birth or the neonatal stage, making it the highest among the 22 ‘big’ states with a population of 10 million or more that were surveyed.

The department is focusing on bringing down the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) or the number of death of infants within 28 days of birth per thousand births, which was the major reason behind the jump in the IMR, said Dr Archana Srivastava, director general (medical health and family welfare).

“To bring down the IMR and improve maternal care, we are concentrating on reducing the NMR by providing good antenatal (during pregnancy) care to expectant mothers, timely identifying high-risk newborns and sending them to referral units to prevent untimely death of infants,” she told Hindustan Times.

With health facilities being dismal, especially in the remote hill areas, another step would be to “ensure proper training of ground-level healthcare workers so that they can in turn guide the new mothers following a child’s birth”, Srivastava said.