Bhopal: The state has lost more than 25,000 infants and children within last 13 months. What’s more worrisome is that the state government is completely in the dark about the cause of these deaths. As per official data, 28, 948 children up to the age of six years have died in Madhya Pradesh between January 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017. The statistics is an eye-opener and reflects poorly on state government’s much-acclaimed health infrastructure and pokes fun at its repeated claim of taking urgent and comprehensive measures to arrest infant and child mortality in the state.

This reflects poorly on the state government’s health infrastructure and its claims of taking urgent and comprehensive measures to control malnutrition in the state.  The data available on Union health and family welfare ministry’s Health Information Management System also provides a break-up of these deaths. As per the details, while pneumonia accounted for deaths of 1,701 children, 150 lives were claimed by diarrhoea, 1,195 by fever-related diseases and 12 by measles. The remaining deaths were attributed to ‘unknown reasons.’

Around 40% children in the state suffer from malnourishment. They are underweight, stunted or wasted and are suffering from various health complications.  Experts say that malnutrition makes children vulnerable to various diseases. Congress MLA Ramniwas Rawat said, “It is strange that government has no idea as to what caused the death of more than 25,000 children in the state.”

“These deaths too were caused by malnutrition but the government is not ready to accept it,” he claimed. The other worrying factor is that urban centres of the state have reported higher number of child deaths. State capital Bhopal accounted for 1,704 child deaths, followed by Badwani (1,386), Satna (1,147), Gwalior (946), Jabalpur (936), Betul (908), Chhindwara (828) and Dhar (848). The districts which reported lowest number of deaths were Agar Malwa (50), Singrauli (73), Indore (99) and  Rewa (177).

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