THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Social Justice and Panchayats M K Muneer said on Wednesday that Kerala would achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), projected to be achieved by 2030, well in advance. Inaugurating an interactive session organised under the joint auspices of Kerala Assembly’s Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training and UNICEF at the banquet hall of the Assembly, he said that many of the health indices of the state were on a par with developed countries.
He said that the recently launched policies like Gender Policy and Transgender Policy and the yet-to-be-launched Child Policy, once implemented, would help the state to reach the goals way ahead of many other states in the country.
“Following the implementation of micronutrient fortification among children in Mananthavady, infant death rate was brought down. The infant death in Attappady has also declined to 14 per cent compared to the 33 per cent in 2013. The average weight of newborns in Attappady is now 2 kg, an improvement compared to the records of the recent past,” he said.
Job Zakharia, chief, UNICEF office, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, who led the class, said that Kerala had best indicators on health in India. It would further improve with increase in some practices like breast-feeding and handwashing with soap and reduction of anaemia.
However, he said that despite the positive indices, Kerala’s infant mortality rate had been remaining static at 12 for the past 20 years. Regarding life expectancy, Kerala was on a par with developed countries - 74.2 for men and 78.1 for women.
He said that the indicators on safe drinking water practices, sanitation, anaemia and malnutrition in children had direct correlation with indicators of health.
Compared to other Indian states, Kerala was far behind as far as safe access to clean water was concerned. The well water sources in the state should be improved.
According to UNICEF studies, the first 1,000 days from conception to the second year of birth (270+365+365) is the most critical period in the life of a person.Job Zakharia said that the period decided not only the health and nutritional status of a child, but also intelligence, height, school performance and even the earning capacity of a person.He said that studies had found that 45 per cent of death of children below five years was owing to malnutrition, which took place in the first 1,000 days. The damage caused in the first 1,000 days was irreversible.
Initiating breast-feeding within one hour of birth of the baby would prevent 22 per cent of neonatal deaths, he said. Speaker N Sakthan inaugurated the interactive session. Deputy Speaker Palode Ravi and Legislature Secretary P D Sarngadharan spoke.