Govt aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 23 by 2025

Govt making efforts to bring down infant mortality rate to 23 by 2025

Efforts are being made to bring down the infant mortality rate to 23 per 1,000 live births by 2025, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, while some Opposition members accused the government of "playing politics" over data on newborn deaths.

Refuting the Opposition charge, Vardhan said the central government does not look at data of states and that there is no politics on the issue.

Opposition members, including Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), alleged that the government is "doing politics" while using data pertaining to infant deaths in states. He was joined by some Samajwadi Party members from Uttar Pradesh.

Singh's charge came after Vinay Sahasrabuddhe of the BJP asked the minister whether the higher mortality rate in Delhi is due to the negligence of the state government or not.

Replying to supplementary questions, Vardhan said, "We are trying to ensure and bring the target of infant mortality down to the levels of sustainable development goals." "We are trying to bring it down to 23 by the year 2025.... We are trying our best. Four states have already achieved targets, much below the targets set for the year 2030," he said.

In his written reply, Vardhan said, "No confirmed reports of deaths of children due to shortage of life-saving oxygen, medicines and treatment facilities in government hospitals has been received by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) from the States/UTs."

The communication from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding improving the quality of care in public hospitals are sent to all the States/ Union Territories urging them to follow standard operational guidelines, treatment protocols and ensure availability of functioning equipments and commodities, adequate and trained service providers, he said.

Besides this, report on incidence of cluster of child deaths at public health facilities are given the highest priority by the central government and reviewed jointly by central and state experts, he noted.

"The findings and recommendations are then shared with the concerned State for taking appropriate action. States/UTs are also requested to ensure that gaps identified in the facilities are addressed on priority and approvals sought under National Health Mission (NHM), as necessary," the minister said in his written reply.

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