No improvement on infant mortality
Kashmir valley has just one single hospital dealing with all pediatric patients. The lone G B Panth hospital, that too working under a dual control of the health department and Cantonment board has been always been making news.
There are reports that the child mortality rate is showing no improvement here even though the administration and the health officials maintain that perfection has been achieved.
The hospital as of now is over burdened and no measures have been taken to improve the basic healthcare and other facilities that are required to improve the scenario. No wonder then that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing high infant mortality.
The main 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 limited child care hospitals offer in this regard are mismanaged and no protocol is followed to run these facilities.
Even though the erstwhile government had 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. But the promise proved a failure.
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 enlisted 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 was worked out for the implementation of the Strategies to reduce IMR by 2022.
During the last 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 was 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’.