Sunday, January 8, 2012

In Vibrant Gujarat, infant mortality rate still high

Infant mortality rate falls from 48 per 1,000 live births in 2009 to 44 in 2010

l Grim Figures

DNA Correspondent | Gandhinagar

With improved healthcare services, Gujarat has managed to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), but it continues to lag behind a number of other states, official data shows.

State health minister Jaynarayan Vyas said that the Infant Mortality Rate in Gujarat fell from 48 per 1,000 live births in 2009 to 44 per 1,000 live births in 2010. He was quoting from Registrar General of India's Sample Registration Survey Report 2010.

"The IMR in the state has fallen by 4 in one year, which is the highest decline in two decades. This has been possible due to the collective efforts of the state government and citizens," Vyas told reporters.

He cited the Chiranjeevi scheme, higher number of institutionalized deliveries, better awareness, 108 emergency service, steps taken to curb malnutrition among pregnant women, access to better pre and post-natal care, higher vaccination, among others as some of the reasons for decline in infant mortality rate.

Vyas said that only two other states - MP and Himachal Pradesh - had achieved a greater reduction of five in the infant mortality rate during the year.

However, the survey report also shows that the IMR in several major states is much lower than in Gujarat.

According to the report, the IMR in Tamil Nadu was 24 in 2010, 28 in neighbouring Maharashtra and 30 in Delhi. The IMR in West Bengal was 31, followed by 34 in Punjab, while it was 38 in Karnataka and Uttarakhand. Even Jharkhand had a lower mortality rate of 42, while Jammu & Kashmir's IMR was recorded at 43.

Vyas said that the fact that a large chunk of Gujarat's population comprised tribals was contributing to the state's higher infant mortality rate. He also claimed that IMR was higher in coastal areas, but added that the government was working to further reduce the IMR.

The report shows that Madhya Pradesh continued to have the highest IMR of 62 in 2010, followed by UP and Orissa with 61. The IMR in Rajasthan was recorded at 55 and 51 in Chhattisgarh. Haryana also had a high infant mortality rate at 48.

Goa had the lowest IMR with 10 deaths per 1,000 live births, while Kerala was second lowest with IMR of 13. Barring Assam (58) and Meghalaya (55), the IMR in other North-Eastern states was also significantly lower than that of Gujarat.


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