`India`s infant mortality rate worse than neighbours`

Updated: Mar 20, 2012, 13:25 PM IST

New Delhi: India`s infant mortality rate of 47 per thousand live births is worse than its neighbouring countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said today.

"In India, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is 47 per thousand live births which translates into 12.5 lakh infant deaths per year," he said replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

IMR in West Bengal is 32 per thousand live births which amounts to 47,000 infant deaths per year.

"Unfortunately, IMR and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in India is very bad. As bad that it cannot be compared with our neighbouring countries of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh. Pakistan is the only country, India can be compred with," he said.

On the question of 12 infant deaths in district hospital in Murshidabad in West Bengal on July 8-9, last year and 15 infant deaths in Malda Medical College during January 17-18,
this year, he said the children were brought to the hospitals in very serious condition.

"The investigation carried out by state government has found that most of these children were referred to these institutions in a serious condition and were mainly new born babies. Important reasons for death were prematurity, low birth weight, sepsis and birth asphyxia," he said.

"Any child brought to hospital with these ailments, it is very difficult to save them," he said.

Stating that health is a state subject, Azad said working and functioning of hospitals is a duty of each state government. "We do only specific intervention."

The central government has provided grant for setting up 30-bed New Born Care Unit at B C Roy Hospital in West Bengal, he added.


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