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Concern over child death

- State yet to reduce infant mortality rate

Bhubanaeswar, Jan. 15: The Union government today expressed concern over the high infant and maternal mortality rates of the state. Despite a lot of intervention, the infant mortality rate in the state stands at 53.

Additional secretary-cum-mission director of National Health Mission Anuradha Gupta said: “Crores of money are being spent to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. But we are yet to reach the goal. Odisha’s infant mortality rate is much higher than the national average.”

According to the Register General of India’s data, infant mortality rate in India stood at 42 for every 1,000 live births in 2012. Kerala is a good performing state with an infant mortality rate of 12. Similarly, maternal mortality rate is around 235 in Odisha against the national average of 178 in one lakh births. Although the maternal mortality rate dropped from 212 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2007-09 to 178 in 2010-12, the country is still far behind the target of 103 deaths per live births to be achieved by 2015 under the United Nations-mandated millennium development goals.

Gupta said if the state government officials focussed on implementing the five components — reproductive health, maternal health, newborn health, child health and adolescent health — the rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality could be checked to a greater extent.

“A toll-free number should also be introduced so that information from all the nooks and corners of the state would reaches the state capital. Timely intervention will save the lives of many mother and child,” Gupta said.

State health secretary P.K. Mohapatra said: “Despite providing all infrastructure, the state has not been able to drastically reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates. The district collectors should rise to the occasion. Being the head of the district treasury, they should stop the salary payment of the officials who fail to carry out the immunisation programme.”

Advising the district collectors to organise meetings on the twin issues of infant and maternal mortality, Mohapatra said: “The goal can only be achieved if those non-performers are given a marching order. The government has decided to organise region wise meeting of collectors on this issue. The collectors should come prepared on how to check the infant and maternal morality rate.”