District Collector V. Dakshinamoorthy has asked Health Department staff and field workers to give priority to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality in the district. “This can be made possible by early registration of pregnant women in the Primary Health Centres (PHC) and identifying high risk mothers who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, anaemia and heart ailments,” he added. The Collector was addressing village health nurses, staff nurses of PHCs and field level supervising staff (sector health nurses and community health nurses) and select medical officers from all the blocks in a one-day workshop that was organised by the health department — to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality in the district.

Expressing the need to closely monitor the identified mothers, he said that it is their duty to ensure that all the deliveries are performed in the hospitals. “Special care is to be given for the high risk mothers and sick newborn babies,” he told the health department staff.

Deputy Director (DD) of Health Services B.R. Jemini told The Hindu that Maternal Mortality in Namakkal district was 78 mothers for every one lakh deliveries. “This is a little more than the State’s average of 74 for every one lakh deliveries. While infant mortality rate is 16 per 1,000 births in Namakkal district — which is less than Tamil Nadu’s average of 21,” he added.

The DD noted that 75 per cent of the neo natal deaths are reported within the first 28 days of the birth of the child. He said that this could be averted by ensuring that the parents take their newborn babies to the hospital thrice in the first four weeks.

Participants were elaborated on antenatal and postnatal care for the mother and child.