VIJAYAWADA: Tribal Welfare Department, which was asked to submit a detailed report into the deaths of infants in Pedabayalu mandal of Visakhapatnam agency, said the deaths were due to calcium deficiency in the mothers and drinking water contamination.
The director of Tribal Welfare, in the report, said the Patharudakota village in Padabayalu is a multi-tribe habitation of 138 households of Bagatha, Kondadora and a few Poraja families, and the villagers were panic-stricken as a total of 14 infant deaths were reported since May 2018, out of which eight infant deaths were reported in the past nine months alone.
It was also reported that all the infant deaths took place within three months of their birth, all of them being institutional deliveries with normal birth weight, and the mothers were reported to be in good health.
“After a detailed investigation, the cause of infant deaths in the area was found to be due to calcium deficiency in the mothers as well as drinking water contamination due to rusting of pipelines, which were laid a long time ago,’’ the report said.
The report was submitted after Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, who is also the Administrator of Scheduled and Tribal Areas in the state, expressed concerns over the rise in the number of infant deaths in Patharudakota. The Governor instructed RP Sisodia, Special Chief Secretary to Governor, to obtain a detailed report from the Secretary, Tribal Welfare on the issue.
“As a result of the concern expressed by the Governor and the personal interest taken him by calling for a detailed report, the Director of Tribal Welfare has initiated steps to replace the drinking water pipeline, provide a second ambulance for emergency medical service, depute a multi-specialist team from KGH, Visakhapatnam, deploy a staff nurse stationed at the village for close observation of health condition of the newborns,’’ a Raj Bhavan release said Tuesday.
The department has also made arrangements for the stay of lactating mothers along with their infant children at Birth Waiting Home in Munchingiputtu, providing additional nutrition to the pregnant and lactating mothers and laying of a drinking water pipeline to the PHC immediately to provide safe drinking water.
A team of doctors from KGH had also visited P Rudakota of Pedabayalu and examined water, soil and other parameters to ascertain the cause. “During the preliminary assessment, doctors found that respiratory failure due to lack of awareness of handling newborns could also be a reason that led to the deaths,’’ the release said.