High Infant Deaths Still Plague Backward Dists

Though Odisha has made considerable progress in reducing infant mortality in the recent years, backward districts continue to be bogged down by high incidence of neonatal deaths despite increased healthcare interventions.

Published: 30th June 2014 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2014 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: Though Odisha has made considerable progress in reducing infant mortality in the recent years, backward districts continue to be bogged down by high incidence of neonatal deaths despite increased healthcare interventions.

A study in some of the backward tribal dominated districts has brought to the fore evidences that cite higher incidence of neonatal deaths in the first week of birth, more particularly on the first day. Early neonatal death accounts for half of the newborn casualties in Kandhamal district while in Nuapada it is as high as 85 per cent.

“Deaths occur due to inability of public health facilities to deal with complications resulting in multiple referrals and also discharge before 48 hours due to non-availability of doctors and people taking recourse to quacks and superstitions”, stated the study on ‘Neonatal death assessment and frontline human resource in health’ conducted by Save the Children organisation.

The study was undertaken in three States of Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha with Boden in Nuapada and Phiringia in Kandhamal being the sites in the latter. The objective was to estimate the rates and causes of neonatal deaths and the proportion that remain unreported. The contribution of local healthcare practitioners, field workers like AWWS and ASHAs in newborn care was also an objective.

In Boden, of 28 neonatal deaths during 2012, more than 50 per cent of births were institutional at CHCs. In Phiringia, of 12 neonatal deaths during 2012, five were born in CHC but all of them died at home. At Boden, respiratory tract infections, sepsis and pneumonia were the major causes of neonatal fatalities followed by low birth weight-related complications and birth asphyxia while in Phiringia, pre-term birth complications and birth asphyxia were the predominant causes.

“The findings will be helpful in strengthening programme planning and implementation. They can also be used in policy making to strengthen Government schemes and enhance quality at the grassroots level,” State programme manager Sasanka Kumar Padhi said sharing the study in presence of Director of Family Welfare Dr Nirmala Kumari Dei here on Friday.

The study has recommended strengthening of healthcare facilities in terms of infrastructure and manpower requirement for basic and emergency obstetric and newborn care. There is also an urgent need to educate healthcare providers as well as the families about various aspects of postnatal care. Staff must be directed to ensure recommended 48-hour post delivery stay in the hospital.

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