Asha workers in UP to adopt infants

Govt has taken this step to curb newborn deaths

In a bid to prevent newborn deaths, the Uttar Pradesh government will now ‘adopt’ every infant from the rural areas and make sure that they are provided the necessary medical care, including immunisation and treatment in case they fall sick.

The government was planning to hand over this responsibility to ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists), who would visit homes where infants are born and keep a record of their immunisation and other health related issues for a period of six weeks after the birth.

“ASHA will be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the infant is immunised from time to time besides making their registration”, a health official said here. The health worker will also take care of the infants’ treatment in case of sickness.

Though the infant mortality rate (IMR), though has come down in the state, it is still quite high at 61 per 1,000 births. The national average is around 50. “The government plans to bring down the IMR to 32 for every 1,000 born in the next few years,” the official said.

The government plans to start the ‘adoption’ in a phased manner. In the first phase, 17 backward districts would be taken up.

The second phase will have 19 districts and the rest would be taken up in later phases, the official added. ASHA workers are being trained for the specialised work. They are being given necessary information about their job, said the official.

Officials said the first six weeks are very important for newborn babies. “A lot of deaths take place during this period mainly from jaundice, diarrhoea  and other infectious diseases,”  they pointed out.

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