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 New scheme to cut infant, maternal mortality rate


288 districts account for 80%

of maternal and infant deaths

Focus on remote areas and those with high SC, ST presence

NEW DELHI: Aimed at reducing the infant and maternal mortality rate, a new programme, Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram, has been launched to train health care providers at health centres across the country.

They are imparted training in resuscitation, prevention of infections and hypothermia, and in early initiation of women to breastfeeding the new born, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry.

Another priority area would be strengthening the government’s resolve towards population stabilisation. Eleven States and Union Territories have already reached the replacement level of total fertility. In the coming months, the Ministry would focus on Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which have high total fertility rates (TFR).

“Though achievement of a TFR of 2.1 by 2010 seems impossible, as we were at 2.7 in 2007, we will make all efforts to ensure that we move closer towards replacement levels by 2015,” Mr. Azad said.

This exercise helped to identify 288 districts which account for 80 per cent of maternal and infant deaths; and primary health centres and community health centres that are geographically remote and difficult to access within villages and blocks which have a high percentage of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. “In these areas, we are now formulating a comprehensive package of additional incentives to health workers and doctors. We intend to give special focus on new-born care, as nearly 23 per cent of the neonatal deaths occur in the first two days of birth,” he said.

Asphyxia, hypothermia and sepsis are major causes of such deaths.

“We still have a long way to go to achieve our goals related to maternal mortality, infant mortality and total fertility ratio, the burden of disease on account of malaria and TB and other infectious diseases, and universal immunisation,” the Minister said, adding he had asked officials to focus on the most difficult and inaccessible areas.






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