J&K Infant Mortality rate improves, below national average

J&K Infant Mortality rate improves, below national average

SRINAGAR, AUGUST 01- With the sustained and dedicated efforts of all sections of the employees of Health & Medical Education Department, the Jammu and Kashmir State has achieved another milestone by registering significant decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). The State has taken lead in decreasing the IMR from 37 to 34. The national average of IMR starts at 39.

As per the Sample Registration Survey, the IMR in the State has declined from 37 to 34. The State has been ranked 8th amongst the 21 States of the country in achieving decline in IMR. This remarkable achievement could be possible with the hard work of the employees under the able command and guidance of the Government from time to time.

The IMR is an important health indicator which shows number of deaths of children up to one year of age per 1000 live births. The National Health Mission ( NHM) with the active support of entire health and Medical Education Department has put strenuous efforts to provide essential neonatal care at Government health institutions across the State. Special New-born Care Units (SNCU) have been established in 21 District/other equivalent Hospitals, New Born Stabilization Units (NBSUs) in 76 CHCs level and New Born Corners (NBCCs) in 281 delivery points with financial and technical support from National Health Mission. Each Special New Born Care Unit has been provided with dedicated staff viz. one Pediatrician, four MBBS doctors, five staff nurses, one lab technician and one data entry operator for its smooth functioning. Tertiary care hospitals of State viz; GMC Jammu, Srinagar and SKIMS have been provided funds for strengthening of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICUs) in terms of infrastructure, manpower etc.

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Apart from this, ASHAs have also been involved in providing home based new-born care services like weighing the newborn, measuring newborn temperature, ensuring warmth, supporting exclusive breastfeeding, diagnosing and counseling in case of problems with breastfeeding, promoting hand washing, providing skin/cord and eye care, health promotion and counseling of mothers and families on key messages on newborn care, ensuring prompt identification of sepsis or other illnesses. ASHA has to pay 6 home visits in case of institutional deliveries and 7 in case of home deliveries till 42 days from birth of the child.

Another key initiative viz. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) under National Health Mission facilitates free medical treatment to pregnant women and infants in any Govt. health institution which includes free drugs, consumables, transport, and diagnostics without any user charges. Also to promote institutional deliveries for quality care of both mother and child under Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY), a cash transfer scheme is being implemented in the State. Both these initiatives have contributed to the increase in institutional deliveries and corresponding decline in early neonatal mortality.

The Health and Medical Education Department with the support of National Health Mission has constituted Mobile Health teams comprising of two Doctors (One Male and One Female) and two Paramedics under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK). Each Block has been provided two such teams with an objective to screen children from 0 to 18 years of age in schools and Anganwadi Centres for detection of 4 Ds- Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies and Developmental Delays including Disabilities. The children diagnosed during preliminary screening by the teams are referred to the District Hospitals for further investigations. Children who are diagnosed with 30 identified health conditions are provided free treatment in the District Hospitals.

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Out of 30 health conditions, 13 conditions have been identified which require surgical interventions at secondary/ tertiary level within / outside the State and the children suffering from these diseases are provided financial assistance for treatment/ surgical intervention at District Hospitals, Govt. Medical Colleges of the State, SKIMS Soura, AIIMS New Delhi and PGI Chandigarh. As many as 308 children have been provided financial assistance, during 2015-16, amounting to Rs.2.27 crore for undergoing surgical interventions within and outside the State.

The dedicated manpower has been engaged for providing maternal and child health care services. Doctors and Para-medics are being regularly trained in various skills for providing quality services in Maternal and Child Health which has, in turn brought considerable decline in IMR.

Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat has lauded the dedicated efforts of the Department, especially the National Health Mission, J&K, Director Health Services, Jammu/Kashmir, Director Family Welfare, J&K and Director SKIIMS, Srinagar for their sustained efforts to achieve the targets and hoped that in future these interventions shall be continued with sincerity and dedication so as to further improve the maternal and child health indicators in coming years.

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