Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has launched a new programme, Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram, to train the healthcare providers at various health centres across the country.

Under this programme, health care providers are imparted training in resuscitation, prevention of infections, hypothermia, and , Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced this here at the Parliamentary consultative committee meeting . The programme aims to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate. The Minister said another priority area would be strengthening the government’s resolve to population stabilisation. So far, 11 States and Union Territories have already reached the replacement level of total fertility. The Ministry would focus on Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the coming months. These States have high total fertility rates.

“Though achievement of a TFR of 2.1 by 2010 seems impossible, as we were at 2.7 in 2007, we will make all efforts to ensure that we are able to move closer towards replacement levels by 2015,” Mr. Azad said.

This exercise, the Minister said, helped to identify 288 districts that account for 80 per cent of maternal and infant deaths; and Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres that are geographically remote and difficult to access within these villages and blocks that have a high percentage of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. “For these areas, we are now formulating a comprehensive package of additional incentives to health workers and doctors. We intend to give special focus to new born care, as nearly 23 per cent of the neonatal deaths occur in the first two days of birth,” he said. Asphyxia, hypothermia, sepsis are major causes of such deaths.

“We still have a long way to achieving our goals related to maternal mortality, infant mortality and total fertility ratio, the burden of disease on account of malaria and TB and other infectious diseases, universal immunisation,” he said, adding that heasked the officers to focus on most difficult and inaccessible areas.

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