Rise in infant mortality rate in Karnataka

It has gone up by one point — from 24 in 2016 to 25 in 2017

September 13, 2019 12:28 am | Updated 08:36 am IST - Bengaluru

Agartala: New born babies inside a maternity ward of a government hospital on the New Year day in Agartala on Sunday. PTI Photo  (PTI1_1_2017_000053b)

Agartala: New born babies inside a maternity ward of a government hospital on the New Year day in Agartala on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI1_1_2017_000053b)

Raising concerns over the health scenario in Karnataka, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the State has gone up from 24 to 25 in 2017, according to the Sample Registration System (SRS) 2017. Karnataka had successfully brought down IMR from 28 in 2015 to 24 in 2016.

IMR is defined as the infant deaths (less than one year) per thousand live births in a given time period and for a given region. The SRS taken up by the Office of the Registrar General of India is a large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate, and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and regional level.

Admitting that IMR has gone up by one point, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Jawaid Akhtar told The Hindu on Thursday that the department had intensified Reproductive Child Health (RCH) activities, streamlining ante-natal check up and mother and child care. “While we do not have any comparative IMR figures in our civil registration system (CRS) to disprove the SRS data, we are confident that there will be a substantial decline in IMR, at least by two points, in the SRS 2018 that will be released in November-December,” he said.

Better than national average

Despite this, Karnataka’s IMR is better than the country’s average that is 33 infant deaths per thousand live births in 2017. In the last 10 years, IMR has witnessed a decline of about 36.7% in rural areas and about 36% in urban areas at the national level.

IMR at the all-India level has declined from 53 to 33 in the last decade.

The corresponding decline in rural areas is 58 to 37 and for urban areas it is from 36 to 23.

However, neonatal mortality in Karnataka, which constitutes 70% of infant deaths, has marginally declined in the last five years. From 25 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009, it has come down to 18 per 1,000 live births in 2017 ranking the State second highest among the four southern States (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala) in terms of reduction in neonatal mortality.

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