Despite being one of the fastest growing cities of the country, Noida lags behind its neighbouring districts on infant and neo-natal mortality rates.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) in Gautam Budh Nagar district (of which Noida is a part) has gone up, whereas many other districts in Uttar Pradesh, which are considered backward comparitively, have shown marginal improvement.
The survey was undertaken to check the outcome of the initiatives taken under the National Rural Health Mission since 2005.
According to the latest figures (2011-12) from the registrar general of India, Gautam Budh Nagar — which is considered upscale on social parameters and contributes about 25% of the state’s total revenue — has seen a marginal jump in infant deaths. Gautam Budh Nagar recorded a 57 infant mortality rate (number of infants of less than one year of age dead per 1,000 live births), which was 56 in the baseline survey that was conducted between July 2010 and March 2011.
Interestingly, the IMR of Ghaziabad, which has a population of almost three times that of Gautam Budh Nagar, dropped from 52 to 50. The adjoining districts, which are considered low on social parameters — Meerut (52), Agra (53), Mathura (45) and Baghpat (54) — all fared better than Noida.
Gautam Budh Nagar chief medical officer RK Garg did not comment saying he had not received any official communication regarding the figures.
Not only IMR, but the neo-natal mortality rate (number of infants dead in less than 29 days of birth per 1,000 live births) of Gautam Budh Nagar has gone up to 36 from 35.
Again, Ghaziabad has been able to bring down its neo-natal mortality rate from 35 to 33. Gautam Budh Nagar has turned out to be performing badly in comparison to Meerut (33) and Mathura (34) as well.
"In the past few years, Gautam Budh Nagar has witnessed a huge increase in population; most of the people here are migrant factory workers or labourers who have settled in villages. As a result, many villages have practically turned into slums as they house more people than their capacity. As an MLA of the area, I fear that in the future Noida might become worse than Mumbai in terms of number of slums. This could be the reason for the increase in IMR and neo-natal mortality rate," said Noida MLA Mahesh Sharma, who is a doctor by profession.
"It is hard to believe the figures as the district has many high-grade hospitals, including a district hospital that provides good medical care. Most of the people here belong to the socio-economically affluent strata. Perhaps the lack of medical attention among construction workers, most of who are migrant labourers, can be the reason for the increase in infant deaths," said Vinod Choudhary, head of department, paediatrics, Fortis Hospital.
According to health ministry officials, the survey is an annual feature in states where health indicators are poor, namely UP, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam.