Mumbai: More than 6,000 infants have died across Maharashtra due to several causes including low birth weight, birth asphyxia, sepsis, malnutrition, and respiratory ailments in the last six months. According to the state health department, 6,646 infants between zero to six years have succumbed, which means on average 950 to 1,000 infant deaths are reported per month.
A senior official from the state health department said that the alarming data was provided under the Integrated Child Development Scheme and there is a need to take urgent measures to curb these deaths of infants who are undernourished.
Most infant deaths take place during deliveries at maternity hospitals
“Most of the deaths take place during deliveries at the maternity hospitals in such areas of the state lacking basic facilities for taking care of pregnant women. We also learnt that many infants are born premature with rare diseases or low weight due to which they die within 28 days. Moreover, some of the districts have higher rates of malnutrition,” he said.
Mission Lakshya 84 in Nandurbar
Meanwhile, the chief medical officer of Nandurbar district has launched ‘Mission Lakshya 84’ to curb infant mortality in Nandurbar after 197 infant deaths were reported in the last three months – until September.
According to the data available with Free Press Journal, there were 75 recorded deaths in July, followed by 86 in August. Additionally, 18 more deaths were reported this month till September 27. Moreover, the state government had also launched schemes to take care of pregnant women for the better health of newborns. The government would offer free health services for them and their newborn including nutrient supplements and vaccination.
Assistant director of maternal health in the Public Health Department, Dr Aniruddha Deshpande, said they are only focusing on improving maternal and infant health. “The scheme will largely help bring down related mortality rates in the country. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries visiting public health facilities are entitled to several free services,” she said.
In 2019, the state launched a special scheme to curb infant deaths and distributed baby-care kits to the children born in primary health centres and government hospitals. It also started Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) centres to achieve zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths in the country and provide service assurance.
According to the government, India’s maternal mortality rate has declined from 254 per 1,00,000 live births in 2004-06 to 130 in 2014-16. Between 2001 and 2016, the infant mortality rate came down from 66 per 1,000 live births to 34.
Infant deaths stats
Total deaths: 6,000
Time: Six months
Cause: Low birth weight, birth asphyxia, sepsis, malnutrition and respiratory ailments
Average deaths per month: 950 to 1,000
Low eight infants die within 28 days
Deaths in July: 75
Deaths in August: 86
Deaths in September so far: 27