The State government is spending heavily to bring down the number of deaths during child birth, according to V.K. Subburaj, Health Secretary to the government.

He was inaugurating an operation theatre for children at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital on Sunday.

Nearly 20 lakh children who are less than five years, died in India every year. This was one of the highest figures in the world, he said and added that the number of women who died during deliveries was also high.

It was heartening to note that the Rotary Club of Coimbatore Satellite had come forward to work with the government to build an operation theatre exclusively for children.

The State was working hard to bring down the number of children dying during delivery. It was also spending on improving the health of children as low birth weight was also a cause for concern, Mr. Subburaj said.

Fifteen per cent of the 11.5 lakh children born in the State in a year weighed less than 2.5 kg. In some cases they weighed as low as 600 gm. The government was spending close to Rs. 1,500 crore to bring down the infant mortality and also improve their health.

Stressing the public-private partnership in health care, he said the success of pulse polio campaign was the good example of it.

Collector P. Umanath also spoke. Rotary representatives and Medical Superintendent A. Mathivanan were present.