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Times of India
21 March 2013

The allocation of Rs 500 crore in the state budget to bring down infant and maternal mortality rate under National Rural Health Mission has health experts hoping that even other state programmes related to nutrition and maternal health would benefit.

“The budget grants Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore each year for measures to bring down infant and maternal mortality rate. The provision has increased this year. All programmes aimed at reducing neonatal and infant diseases and deaths will benefit from this,” said Vasudeve Rokade, assistant director (child health), public health department.

Elaborating, Rokde said, “Programmes like reduction of malnutrition in the age group of 0 to six years through integrated child development scheme (ICDS), tribal and health department and state’s Navasanjeevani programme, which is aimed at reducing infant and maternal deaths by encouraging deliveries in hospital set up and provides nutritious diet to pregnant women will also benefit.”

State human development programme implemented in 125 tribal blocks of 22 districts for early detection of disease in pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescents girls will get a boost, Rokde said.

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As per the Sample Registration System data for 2010, the state’s IMR (death in age group up to one year) had dropped from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009 to 28 deaths in 2010. Besides, the state’s maternal mortality rate is 108 deaths per 1 lakh deliveries.

The country’s infant mortality rate too has shown a three-point decline, going down from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births to 47. The health and family welfare ministry estimates that 17 lakh children under the age of five die every year. Of these, 13 lakh are infants. Another 7 lakh deaths occur within the first week. The main cause of death in 50% cases is malnutrition, other reasons being diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles.

Experts say mortality can be contained with good care of mother and child. Low birth weight is related to poor maternal nutrition and lack of antenatal care.

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