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Infant Mortality Surged in Madhya Pradesh

  • 10 Jul 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

According to the Office of the Registrar General India, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Madhya Pradesh has surged by a single point over the previous year to 48 in 2018.

  • IMR is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births.
  • The Office of the Registrar General is under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It issues the Sample Registration System bulletin, which provides estimates of birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate for states.

Key Points

  • Data Analysis:
    • The country’s average IMR stands at 32 per 1,000 live births which includes an average 36 deaths for rural and 23 for urban areas.
    • In Madhya Pradesh it is 52 children in rural areas and 36 in urban areas. Madhya Pradesh has the highest IMR (48) in the country.
      • The IMR for boys in the State stood at 51, while for girls it was 46 in 2018.
      • As many as 26 infants of 1,000 live births in Madhya Pradesh died within the first seven days constituting more than half the infant deaths.
    • Uttar Pradesh has the next highest rate of 43 and Kerala has 7, the lowest among the bigger States.
  • Causes: Increasing premature deliveries, infections, birth asphyxiation (lack of oxygen in blood) and delay in securing treatment which lead to complicated deliveries.
  • Concerns:
    • Birth Spacing: In most cases two children were born within one-one and a half years as against the advocated gap of around three years.
      • This may result in premature deliveries of low birth weight babies.
    • High Malnutrition: High malnutrition levels in pregnant as well as lactating mothers often result in the death of infants.
    • Maternal Health: It also has a bearing on the IMR. In 2015-2017, Madhya Pradesh registered a maternal mortality ratio of 188 per 1 lakh live births, against the country’s average of 122.
    • Antenatal Care: According to the National Family Health Survey -4 (2015-16), only 11.4% mothers received full antenatal care. So, when pregnancy is not monitored properly it leads to complicated deliveries despite a high claimed institutional deliveries.
  • Solutions:
    • Response of States: Health being a state subject, puts the onus of patient’s effective care on State government. Hence, there is a need for strong commitment from the states in relation to availability of the human and financial resources.
    • Antenatal and Postnatal Care: It is an important aspect in bringing down infant mortalities. There is a need for sufficient health checkups, institutional deliveries and medication in Antenatal and Postnatal Care.
    • Revamping of Primary Health Care: The primary health system needs to be ramped up in terms of facilities, trained medical professionals and medical equipment.
    • Paediatric Intensive Care Units: To bring down the IMR, ICUs should be set up to take care of inborn children.
    • Enhancement of Manpower: Enhancement of manpower e.g. Doctors, skilled ASHA workers and nurses at the primary health especially in rural areas would aid to institutional deliveries.
    • Digitisation: The National Health Portal has been used as a single point access for institutional deliveries through Janani Suraksha Yojana.

Government Initiatives

  • National Health Mission: The National Health Mission (NHM) encompasses two Sub-Missions, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) launched in 2005 and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) launched in 2013.
    • It envisages achievement of universal access to equitable, affordable & quality health care services that are accountable and responsive to people's needs.
  • India Newborn Action Plan: It was launched in 2014 to make concerted efforts towards attainment of the goal of “Single Digit Neonatal Mortality Rate” and “Single Digit Still-birth Rate”.
  • Other Schemes: Schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK), Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) etc. were started to promote institutional deliveries so as to reduce the prevalence of IMR.

Way Forward

  • Efforts are being made to bring down the infant mortality rate to the levels of Sustainable Development Goals i.e. 23 per 1,000 live births by 2025.
  • However, there is a need of preventive rather than only curative care.
  • The availability of funds (from Centre) as well as its judicious use by the States is vital in effective implementation of the framed policies and overhauling of the required health infrastructure.
  • Concerned ministries can collaborate with each other to ensure better coordination, convergence and holistic integration of different schemes, as done in POSHAN Abhiyan.

Source: TH

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