NABARANGPUR: The death of four infants in the last three days in Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) in Nabarangpur district has raised questions on the quality of health services.
Despite implementation of programmes to check Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in the district, Nabarangpur continues to register alarming figures. While the IMR stands at 67 per 1,000 babies, the MMR is 421 per one lakh.
Speaking about the deaths, paediatric specialist of DHH Dharani Ranjan Satpathy said the infants were brought to the DHH in a critical condition. The infants, all below one month of age, were suffering from birth asphyxia, low birth-weight and breath-related problems, he added.
In one case, son of Champa Harjan of Umerkote was admitted in the SNCU in a critical condition on Thursday. He died on Friday. In another case, the girl child of Tamlu Majhi of Icchapur village near Umerkote was admitted in DHH in a serious condition on Wednesday and she died the next day.
The baby boy of Tula Muduli of Goudadeopalli village under Tentulikhunti block was also admitted in the DHH in a serious condition in the first week of April. He died on Thursday while undergoing treatment at the DHH. Son of Brundi Bhotra of Papadahandi block too was brought to the DHH in a critical condition on Friday morning and died the same day.
The deaths have brought to the fore lack of adequate infrastructure and large-scale vacancies in the posts of specialists that have deprived the people of quality health services.
While there is another SNCU at Umerkote besides the one at DHH, the two facilities fail to meet the needs of the increasing number of infants being brought to the hospitals. The Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are also not adequately equipped to meet emergency cases.
Vacancies in the posts of specialists and doctors are not new in tribal-dominated district, which has been facing the problem for nearly three decades.
Meanwhile, doctors said creating awareness among the people is the need of the hour as minor age pregnancy, anaemia among pregnant women, malnutrition, irregular breast feeding and premature delivery are some of the reasons behind the alarming IMR and MMR.