Experts panel moots steps to tackle congenital heart disease in infants

Prioritising CHD could lead to lower infant mortality rate in the State

March 21, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 06, 2016 02:01 pm IST - KOCHI:

With around 250,000 children being born with congenital heart diseases (CHD) every year, experts met here to recommend screening and access for medical treatment under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In a two-day meeting of key stakeholders in child heart health held at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, it was decided that the programme introducing a pulse oximetry and clinical examination of newborns be done to detect child heart disease.

Experts felt that a public-private partnership could be created until the government sector is sufficiently strengthened.

Dr. Anita Saxena, head, Paediatric Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, said that though paediatric cardiac care had advanced in terms of quality in select institutions, the collective capacity in the country falls short of national requirements and the existing centres are not distributed in accordance with regional needs.

Nearly 100,000 children have serious conditions that require attention in the first year of life, but 95 per cent of them do not get it.

In most parts of the country, heart disease is not seen as a priority because large numbers of children are dying in the country from other preventable communicable diseases.

In Kerala, the step could go a long way in reducing the infant mortality rate (IMR) that had been stagnant at 12-13 deaths per 1,000 live ibirths.

Critical congenital heart disease in infants contribute significantly to IMR, said Dr. Zulfikar Ahmed, head, Paediatric Cardiology, SAT, Thiruvananthapuram.

More centres could be needed to provide access to medical care, Dr. Ahmed added.

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