Staff Reporter

Plan drawn up to bring it down to 20 per thousand live births in Puducherry

PUDUCHERRY: There has been a marginal increase in the infant mortality rate (IMR) in the Union Territory for the period from 2003 to 2005.

As per the survey results of the Union Health Ministry, the IMR for Puducherry was 22 per thousand live births during 2003 and it went up to 24 in 2004. The IMR for 2005 was put at 28 per thousand live births.

"We have taken it seriously even though it was only a slight increase because of two reasons. In majority of the States with good health indicators, the IMR has come down drastically. Second, we have almost 100 per cent institutional delivery and cover three anti-natal check-ups before delivery," Dr. Dilipkumar Baliga, Director, Health and Family Welfare Services, told The Hindu .

The health indicators should had brought down the IMR to below 20, he added.

After the reports appeared, the monthly-wise study conducted by the Directorate revealed that most of the death occurred during the neo-natal period, that was first one week after the delivery. The cause of mortality was found to be low birth weight due to nutritional deficiency of the mother during the third trimester. During the period, from 28th to 40th week during pregnancy, the baby grew by at least by four times, Dr. Baliga said.

The Directorate has decided to train auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM's) to assess the improvement in the fetal weight during the third trimester. The ANMs' would refer the cases to specialists if the weight was below normal, he said. The Directorate also planned to make compulsory the visit of gynaecologists to rural health centres and referral units on a fixed calendar.

Also, the health department would coordinate with Integrated Child Development Scheme for nutritional programme for mothers, he added.

"We have worked out a plan to bring down the IMR to 20 per thousand live births," he informed.