Odisha registers 16256 newborn deaths in 18 months

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BHUBANESWAR:   Despite several steps claimed to be taken to bring down Infant Mortality Rate, Odisha has been witnessing on an average 30 newborn deaths per day, the State Legislative Assembly was informed here on Friday.

According to a reply furnished by State Health and family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak in the State Assembly here on Friday, 10459 newborn ( up to four weeks) deaths were reported in 2013-14 financial year while 5797 newborns had already died between April and September this year.

Many tribal dominated districts and poverty-stricken districts of western Odisha have reported high incidences of newborn deaths.

As many as 967 newborn deaths were registered in Bolangir, a western Odisha district, during the last financial year. The district has already witnessed 524 such deaths this year. Its neighbouring district, Kalahandi, had 836 deaths last fiscal and 443 this year.

Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Bargarh have reported high number of newborn deaths during these periods.

Incidentally, Ganjam despite having a large geographical area had only 34 newborn deaths during 2013-14. But during the first six months of the current fiscal, 41 new born deaths have been reported from the district.

If one goes by average per day newborn deaths, Odisha had 29 newborn deaths per day during the last financial year. However, in the first six months of the current fiscal, average per day newborn deaths was around 32.

Mr. Nayak said that to check newborn and neonatal deaths, there are 29 sick newborn care units, 49 newborn care units and 662 newborn care corners in operation in the States.

Besides, Asha workers are being imparted training on home-based newborn care so that they could monitor and counsel parents on health of newborns till 49 days, the minister pointed out. During the past three years, the State government claimed to have spent Rs. 200 crore on strengthening of infrastructure for reduction of IMR.

Health Department sources, however, said there had been a remarkable reduction in IMR by 22 points from 75 in 2005 to 53 in 2011 as per Sample Registration Survey – the sharp decline was the highest in the country. Similarly, Neonatal Mortality Rate had gone down from 53 (SRS 2005) to 40 (SRS 2011) which had kept pace with decline in IMR.

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