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Reducing infant mortality, but how?

Reducing infant mortality, but how?
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The State Government has formulated a comprehensive action plan to reduce the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to a single digit by the year 2020 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
This decision was announced some months back but as of now the situation on infant mortality is alarming.
In a place like Kashmir where health care facilities have always been questioned. The non-availability of quality healthcare has made the lives of people miserable especially in remote areas.
Even in city centres and towns the healthcare facilities are insufficient and the most affected sector is the child and mother care. No wonder then that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing high infant mortality.
Another reason why the state has failed to cut down the infant mortality rates is the non-availability of neo natal care in the state. Whatever facilities the hospitals offer in this regard are mismanaged and no protocol is followed to run these facilities.
Notably, more than 2,000 infant deaths were reported in the state in 2015-16, a slight increase from 2014. The number of deaths was 2,034 in 2015-16.
In 2014-15, 2,008 infant deaths were reported and in 2013-14, the number was 2,292. The highest number of infant deaths in 2015-16 was reported from Jammu district (557) and the lowest from Ramban (4).
The case is no different in the following years and the state officials claim that the infant mortality rate in the state was 51 in 2007, adding that it had come down to 37 in 2013 which was better than the national average of 40.
Interestingly, the Health and Medical Education Department prepared the action plan with technical support from Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) teams for which a Technical Expert Committee has been constituted, which had members from Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology departments of GMC Srinagar and Jammu.
The Action Plan enlists the community and health facility-based interventions for accelerating rate of decline, which includes Birth preparedness, Home Based Newborn care, Mothers Absolute Affection (MAA), Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF), Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), VHNDs and IMNCI.
A requirement of Rs. 154.47 crore has been worked out for the implementation of the Strategies to reduce IMR by 2022.
During the current fiscal Rs 23.06 crore stand approved under NHM for implementation of the existing and new strategies which also include two Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) at Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar Jammu and SKIMS Bemina, Neonatal ventilators and CPAP machines for high caseload SNCUs, six new Family Participatory Care Units for District Hospitals of Udhampur, Samba, Ramban, Leh, Lal Ded Hospital Srinagar and CHC Kupwara; four new Paediatric Emergency Rooms at SMGS Jammu, GB Pant Srinagar, DH Pulwama and DH Kathua.
Besides, new Oxygen Concentrator Plant is also being established at Government GB pant Hospital Srinagar for which an amount of Rs 1.15 Crore has been approved during current fiscal under NHM.
However, the government has missed out on an important component and that is training of the medicos and the paramedics who have to run and manage these centres. It has been observed that NICU’s are best managed by trained staff rather than the latest facilities that are provided to the new born. Therefore, the government should involve a component of training the staff as well so as to ensure that best services are provided to the neonates’.

KV Network

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