Ex­perts urge fo­cussed in­ter­ven­tion in high neonatal mor­tal­ity ar­eas

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - HT METRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent lko­re­porters­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The state needs bold ac­tion for new­borns even as child sur­vival rates im­prove, said speak­ers at a dis­cus­sion on the re­cently launched ‘State of In­dia’s New­borns-2014’ re­port, or­gan­ised by NGO Save the Chil­dren on Fri­day.

Ex­perts said at­tain­ment of mil­len­nium de­vel­op­ment goals was within In­dia’s reach with ac­cel­er­ated ac­tion to im­prove new­born and child sur­vival in the com­ing months. How­ever, the 12th plan goal of bring­ing in­fant mor­tal­ity rate (IMR) down to 25 by 2017 would re­quire neonatal mor­tal­ity rate to be around 18 per 1,000 live births, they said.

“Ut­tar Pradesh has an IMR of 50, much higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 40. Since the state ac­counts for 27% of the na­tional neonatal mor­tal­ity rate (NMR), it is im­per­a­tive for us to ad­dress the gaps in health ser­vices with­out any de­lay,” said Suro­jit Chat­terji, state pro­gramme man­ager (UP) for Save the Chil­dren.

Se­nior jour­nal­ist MM Bahuguna said, “We need to re­flect on the progress in im­prov­ing new­born and child health, which is at the heart of our coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment agenda. And progress in UP could surely lead the way for the coun­try.”

Dis­tricts like Shrawasti, Faizad­abad and Sid­dharthana­gar have NMR above 70 and re­quired fo­cussed in­ter­ven­tions. The state gov­ern­ment had been fo­cussing on strength­en­ing ser­vices, es­pe­cially in­creas­ing the num­ber of ‘sick new­born care units’ across ‘high-pri­or­ity dis­tricts’, which would show pos­i­tive trends in the com­ing years, Chat­terji added.

Tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor to Save the Chil­dren, Dr Ra­jesh Khanna, said, “The ‘State of In­dia’s New­borns’ re­port cap­tures the story of our neonatal health ini­tia­tives in re­cent years. It is an hon­est ef­fort to share In­dia’s ex­pe­ri­ence in im­prov­ing neonatal health with a wide spec­trum of na­tional and global stake­hold­ers.”

He said the re­port cel­e­brated the suc­cesses, but also pro­vided in­sights for ad­dress­ing the gaps. “Above all, it in­tends to ig­nite an as­pi­ra­tion and hope for at­tain­ing the best pos­si­ble neonatal health sta­tus in the coun­try in the near fu­ture and over the long term,” Dr Khanna added.

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