Infant mortality goes up in Karnataka

In this picture taken on October 17, 2017, a malnourished newborn Indian baby is attended to by a nurse at the special newborn care unit at the district hospital in Sangareddy in Telangana state. (Photo/AFP)

The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Karnataka has gone up by one point raising it to 25, according to officials from the department of health and family welfare. 

Infant Mortality Rate indicates the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. In Karnataka, the numbers have gone up from 24 to 25 per thousand live births raising serious concerns. 

Speaking at the inauguration of a workshop on Measles and Rubella elimination in the State, Jawaid Akthar, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare said, "In a recent meeting we had at the office of the Commissioner, it has been found to our dismay that the IMR has risen by one in 2017." This is the latest data available with the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

Poor reporting of health issues among the newborn and laxity on part of the health workers has been contributing to this, Akthar indicated. "There are several problems in terms of not entering the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), not entering the data of check-ups in tabs given to them. There is also misclassification. IMRs are classified as perinatal death," he said. 

Akthar added that Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are not qualified enough for the work and hence, training them was essential. Previously, Karnataka had reported an IMR of 28, which was brought down to 24. 

Trainings

Akthar said that there was a need for the department staff to take trainings given to them seriously. "The role that Reproductive Child Health Officers play is crucial. They must hand out notes to ASHA just like they do in coaching centres. Our levels of targets are going up" he said. 

Meanwhile, speaking at the event, Dr Rajini Nagehsrao, Deputy Director of nutrition at the Department of Health and Family Welfare said that to address the issue, better reporting is the key. She sought that all Primary Health Officers keep a list of children who are malnourished, those with anaemia and also keep track on IMR and Maternal Mortality in their areas. 

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