Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can we reduce Infant mortality?

I am at Patna attending in the World Vision India's ToT training programme on Maternal and Child health. Volunteers, staff, ASHA workers from 7 districts (Bhojpur, Patna, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nalanda and Nawada are participating. Infant mortality rate: total: 46.07 deaths/1,000 live births male: 44.71 deaths/1,000 live births female: 47.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.) (Source:India Infant Mortality (2012).
 In a layman term Infant Mortality is children dying between 0-12 months of their birth. Dr P.K Goswami says that 50% of Infant mortality comes from New Born death i.e. children dying between 0 -28 days of their birth and 50% of the new born death is contributed by children dying between 0 - 7 days. So logically we can conclude that if Infant mortality in India to be reduced the New Born death (0-28 days) has to be stopped. Otherwise it is very difficult for India to bring down IMR.
So what are the various causes of new born deaths? Dr Goswami said that following some are the medical causes 1. Hypothermia (Temperature of child's body is less than the normal), 2. Birth Hypoxia 3. Birth Trauma, 4. Sepsis 4. Pneumonia.
Then how could New Born death be reduced. Dr Goswami cited the following few preventive measures:
  1. Wrapping of new born baby with clean clothes. cover head, hands and feet
  2. Breast feeding
  3. Eye care of the new born
  4. Care of umbilical cord
  5. Cleanliness
Dr Goswami says that if these few simple actionable actions are done 50% of new born deaths can be prevented.

I sent an SMS to Dr Jayakumar Christian, CEO of World Vision India. He said, "Strange that with solution that simple we still let millions die in our country."
What we need then? We need to relook our public health strategy. Simply shouting at government will not prevent new born deaths. Create mass awareness among the mothers, Panchayats, health workers, TBAs. NGOs promote this vigorously. It does not cost much but need Personal Passion. One need not wait for government to come to rescue the new born babies. This could be done by any one who really wants to save lives of new born.

Again, this is the responsibility of every individual to help save lives. If India has to reduce IMR then issues of New born death has to be addressed at any cost.

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