Madhya Pradesh might have topped the country in infant mortality rate as per a latest government survey, but it is making progress to rid itself of the dubious distinction, according to a health expert.
“There was a reduction of 30% in the IMR rate in the state between the year 2009-2014 as against nationwide fall of 25% during the same period,” pointed out Dr Gagan Gupta, a health specialist with the UNICEF.
With 52 deaths of children less than one year of age per 1,000 live births, the state has the highest IMR rate in the country, according to the 2014 sample registration system (SRS) baseline survey released earlier this year by the registrar general of India.
Dr Gupta, who is in the city to take part in the ongoing 36th annual neo-natal conference, spoke at length on the way ahead for neo-natal care both in the country as well as the state.
He said though Madhya Pradesh showed remarkable progress in checking IMR rate, the state still needs to take several collective measures to improve its situation.
Dr Gupta also pointed out the basic flaws that afflict the entire neo-natal care in the country. “India is the only country where mortality rate of females is higher than males. Generally, it is the opposite. This is because girl child is not given the proper care which she should ideally be given,” he said.
Citing figures for the state Dr Gupta added that the percentage of mortality of female newborn is 17% higher than males.
The Unicef and the National Neo-natal Forum also declared 2017 as the year of female newborn to ensure that the focus of health care shifts towards them.
The emphasis will be on admitting the newborns to the SNCU so that they receive adequate care.
Dr KK Diwakar, a neonatologist from Kerala, said early initiation to breastfeeding is the key to reducing the mortality rate among newborn and infants.
Over 300 delegates, health experts, pediatricians and neo-natal care experts are attending the conference which will conclude on Sunday.
UNICEF MEASURES TO CHECK IMR
Care of the female newborn: From introducing her to the SNCU in case of a critical condition to ensuring that a follow up of her health condition is done at community based centres
Breastfeeding: It can reportedly avert 22% of neo-natal deaths.
Quality care: All the facilities being provided to the newborn should be in such a condition that issues like Asphyxia, which is the most common condition resulting in the death of a newborn, can be checked.
Special care for babies born too soon or too small: Premature and under-weight babies have a very high mortality rate. Therefore, special care needs to be given to them.
Follow up with the community: One million babies in the country and one lakh in the state walk out of the SNCU, but how many are able to make it to their fifth birthday is something the health department needs to look into.