Infant Mortality Rate: Blame it on Lack of Initiative to go International
By Gokul Vannan | Published: 24th November 2014 06:15 AM |
Doctors at the medical college hospital in Dharmapuri could have saved the babies had they used the facilities provided to them and consulted health experts in other child care institutions within and outside the State, claims S Elango, former director of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicines, Tamil Nadu. He points out that the government has provided most medical college hospitals with online, web-camera and video conferencing facilities besides international exposure in the form of MoUs with various countries. But the doctors hardly use them, he claims.
“With several government doctors in the State yet to widen their scope of thought, several patients miss the chance of their cases being discussed with experts across the globe,” says Elango. Sharing his experience of tackling the swine flu outbreak in TN in 2009, Elango says people at high-risk were saved through interactions with experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. “Similarly, to bring down tobacco usage we consulted with the John Hopkins University in Baltimore.” “In India itself, we have the AIIMS in New Delhi and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh. Several specialised institutions also function in Chennai. Doctors in Tier II and Tier III cities have to change their mindset and increase their interaction with experts.”
According to Elango, who is also the president of the Tamil Nadu chapter of Public Health Foundation of India, another major reason for increase in infant mortality rate is the failure of the rural health set up. “Around 70 per cent of the village health nurses (VHN) never stay in the health sub-centres allotted to them. A sub-centre is available for every 5,000 people, so nurses in these centres can map various health issues in the area,” he explains. Six sub-health centres function under one Primary Health Centre (PHC) so the nurses can monitor pregnant women and take them to the PHCs for regular check up. “The village health nurses should ensure that the expecting woman gains additional 10 kg weight by the time of delivery so the newborn weighs at least 2.5 kg. A baby born with a lower weight faces risks.”