UN report lauds Bihar`s efforts for reducing IMR
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 19:39
New Delhi: Infant mortality rate in Bihar, one of India's poorest states, is declining, according to a UN report.

The report has credited the state's better infrastructure development in the sectors including health, roads and electricity for saving lives of newborns.

"Between 2008 and 2009, this (IMR) fell from 56 to 52 per live 1,000 births - only just above the national average," says the assessment report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme.

As part of the Comprehensive Newborn Care Initiative (CNCI) developed with technical support from UNICEF and Bihar Government's National Neonatology Forum has set up 'sick newborn care units'.

The new system relies on better electricity supplies, better health care services and better roads for home visits and referrals to specialised health centres.

"Electricity supplies are not affected by the frequent power cuts as the units also have back-up generators. The units have equipment to make oxygen directly from the atmosphere so need not wait for replenishment of oxygen cylinders," the report said.

These units, of which there are now eight, have proved a boon for critically sick newborns. Between 2009 and 2010 they almost doubled their admissions, from 53,987 to 90,236.

The CNCI uses the integrated management of neonatal and childhood illnesses, providing newborn care at every level, abnd the government expects that this will save up to 60000 newborn lives every year.

"Thanks in part to improved roads, districts using this approach also have home visits for all newborns, and Bihar is also the first state in India to manage referred sick children in hospitals," the report said.

State-of-the art care is also provided through the neonatal intensive care unit at the Patna Medical College Hospital which through telemedicine also serves as an online consultation centre for districts, it added.


First Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 19:39

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