Collector S. Suresh Kumar has called for a concerted effort to control infant and maternal mortality rates with focus on providing nutritious food to pregnant women.

Guntur district had 53 maternal and 885 infant deaths in 2011-12 (up to September 2012).

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the district is just a notch below (133 per lakh live births) the State figure (134). The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the district stands at 36 per 1,000 live births compared to 46 in the entire State.

Efforts have to be made to improve the situation by concentrating on ‘Marpu’ programme which is intended for the very purpose of preventing infant and maternal deaths.

Addressing a review meeting of the district officials, special officers and MPDOs on Saturday, Mr. Suresh Kumar said the need of the hour was to spread awareness about the causes for MMR and IMR and what the pregnant women could do to deliver healthy babies.

The accredited social health activists and staff of the Medical & Health Department at the grass-root level play a crucial role in facilitating safe institutional deliveries.

Under ‘Marpu’, there is a menu of 20 points that will ensure safe deliveries.

By 2015, the MMR and IMR in the district are targeted to be brought down to less than 85 and 23 respectively as stipulated under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Due focus has to be laid on maintaining cleanliness in habitations, the lack of which triggers the outbreak of various diseases, the Collector added.