Neonatal period vital to reduce infant mortality rate: experts

More focus on the first 28 days of life after an infant is born, is vital to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, UNICEF officials said here on Tuesday. At present, the IMR in both the States is close to 41 per thousand live births with rural areas considerably having more IMR than the urban areas.

A combination of factors including nutritional status of mothers, their age of marriage, immunisation, delayed initiation of breastfeeding among many others impact IMR. “The first few days after infant’s birth, the neonatal period, is very important for the survival of infant. Focus on this will bring down IMR in AP and Telangana,” said Dr. Sanjeev Upadhyaya, Health Specialist, UNICEF.

There are studies that indicate that only 49 per cent of women in these two States receive iron and folic acid for at least 100 days during pregnancy as recommended, said UNICEF officials in a media meet on Maternal and Child Health.

Anaemia, which is a leading cause for maternal mortality and low birth weight, is a widespread public health problem affecting infants, children, adolescent girls and women of reproductive age. More than half of all married women are anaemic and one-third of them are malnourished, several studies say.

Another factor impacting IMR is mother’s age, experts said. According to a NFHS study in 2012, the IMR is 89 for mothers below the age of 20 as compared to women in the age groups of 20-29 and 30-39 years in India. Almost 13 per cent of girls aged between 15-19 years have begun childbearing in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. UNICEF experts suggested that a lot of attention should be given to micronutrient deficiencies of Vitamin A and Iron and Folic Acid till the age of five years and Iron and Folic Acid supplementation for children from 6 to 60 months.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 1:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/neonatal-period-vital-to-reduce-infant-mortality-rate-experts/article6587663.ece

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