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Times of India
03 June 2010
Jaipur, India

Infant mortality: Govt plans strict monitoring in districts
To ensure effective tracking of pregnant women and their newborn, the health department has assigned senior health officials to carry out monitoring in districts. Each of the 33 districts has been assigned to a health official above the rank of deputy director, including two IAS officers.

In the orders issued on May 31, principal health secretary B N Sharma has asked the officials to visit the districts thrice a month. “The officials will have to evaluate the health services provided to registered pregnant women, delivery cases and newborns. It should also be ensured that the monthly progress and line listing is duly updated in the online software,” stated B N Sharma.

Pregnancy, child tracking and health services management system (PCTS) was launched in September 2009 for online monitoring of pregnant woman and their vaccination history. The initiative has, however, been slow due to lack of enthusiasm among employees. However, as the monitoring intensifies better services are expected for the mother and child.

“As the pregnancy–related data gets online and easily accessible, it will be easier for the administration and health officials to plan medical services accordingly,” said a senior health official.

“Better monitoring is expected to reduce infant and mother mortality, female foeticide. It could also be used to alert local hospitals and ambulance service about the anticipated delivery date of a pregnant women in their locality,” he added.

Even though the infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country has declined in the past few years (from 58 deaths per 1,000 births in 2004 to 55 in 2007) the death of children less than four–weeks old, neonatal mortality rate (NMR) remained almost constant (near 36) in the past four years. However, early NMR (children in first week of birth) rose from 26 in 2004 to 29 in 2007.

According to a District Level Household Survey (DLHS 3) held in 2007–08, 388 out of one lakh women died due to pregnancy–related complications in Rajasthan against the national average of 254. Similarly, the newborn mortality was registered at around 63 per thousand in Rajasthan while the national average was 53.

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