Union Govt Plan to Help Prevent Neonatal Deaths
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28 April 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
It is being estimated that the programme, which is in its first phase, will prevent the deaths of approximately one to two lakh newborns, every year.
Amit Mohan Prasad, joint secretary (RCH), Union ministry of health and family welfare, said, “India accounts for nearly 1.2 million newborns’ deaths per year, that is 30% of global neonatal deaths. Nearly half of the deaths of children aged below five years occur in the neonatal period, and mostly within the first few days of birth. Birth asphyxia and sepsis are the major causes of these deaths.” One of the effective measures to prevent deaths of newborn babies is to have skilled birth attendants trained in resuscitation, prevention of infection and temperature management, he added.
Prasad said, “The National Population Policy Goal of the Infant Mortality Rate below 30/1000 live births by 2010, mandates urgent measures to be put in place to prevent these deaths. One of the effective measures is to have skilled birth attendants. The oneday training envisaged under ‘basic newborn care programme’ will help enhance skills of healthcare providers – including, doctors, all nursing cadres and birth attendants.”
Subhash Dodwal, training consultant, Unicef, state family welfare bureau, Pune, said, “In the first phase, the programme will be implemented in 15 districts of Maharashtra, especially in pockets with tribal population. We have already covered seven districts.”
As many as 28 paediatricians and gynaecologists, two each from civil hospitals, from seven districts – Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Nagpur, Gondia, Yavatmal, Amravati and Nanded – have already been trained under this programme, said Dodwal. “We are looking at training 2,200 medical officers and 6,000 nurses working at sub–centres a nd rural hospitals.”
The programme in the first phase has been launched in eight states – Maharashra, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and the paediatrics department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have provided help in developing the manual and tools for this programme. The IAP will help impart training to healthcare providers.
“With more and more deliveries happening at healthcare institutions as a result of the Janani Suraksha Yojana, it becomes important that health professionals attending to births, are trained in the simple procedure of resuscitation and basic newborn care,” said Dodwal. “The implementation of this programme will help prevent significant number of newborn deaths.”