Infant deaths in Coimbatore district have declined by 15.36 per cent during 2012-13 after having risen during the past two consecutive years.
The total number of births in the district rose by 13.66 per cent during 2012-13.
While last year, infant deaths had increased by 7 per cent, in the year before, it had increased by 14 per cent. Correspondently, the total number of births rose last year by 4.52 per cent after declining by 4.37 per cent the preceding year.
Deputy Director of Public Health R. Damodharan told The Hindu here that the decline was largely due to the measures such as effective implementation of Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Assistance Scheme by introducing ‘e-transfer’ of financial assistance and promoting the use of ambulances for pregnant women.
The district administration had also keenly monitored infant deaths and the steps to prevent them.
Giving a break-up of the infant deaths during 2012-13, he said that of the total 336 deaths, 166 were at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH).
Of these cases of death, 131 infants were born in the CMCH while the rest were born elsewhere and referred to the medical college hospital.
Further, he said that another 90 deaths occurred at homes and 35 in private hospitals.
However, deliveries at homes had been largely curtailed and only four of these infants were born at homes.
The deaths at private hospitals would be investigated by the Infant Death Audit Committee, which reported to a district-level committee chaired by the Collector.
Dr. Damodharan said that 20 infant deaths occurred in transit.
To reduce this, the use of 108 emergency ambulance services was promoted.
The ambulances stationed in villages have been provided a list of pregnant women and the expected date of deliveries so that the ambulance could pick them up and admit them to the nearby hospital.
The pregnant mothers are also provided drop-back facility under Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, a Central Government-sponsored scheme.
Rural areas accounted for a majority of infant deaths (291) compared to 45 in urban areas.
A majority of the deaths occurred between 1-7 days (136 deaths) and 29 to 365 days (102 deaths).
Birth asphyxia accounted for 22 per cent of the infant deaths, he added.