State brings down infant mortality rate

In a significant achievement, Kerala has brought its infant mortality rate (IMR), down from 10 to the single digit of 7 (per 1,000 live births), according to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin.

This means that Kerala has achieved the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target for IMR reduction, set at eight for the year 2020. The State’s IMR for rural areas is 9 and for urban areas, 5.

National average

The data, released by the Office of the Registrar General of India, with the reference year of 2018 put the State far ahead of the national average of 32.

Kerala is also the only State to have achieved the single digit IMR of 7 amongst bigger States, the closest being Delhi with an IMR of 13.

Among smaller States, Goa and Sikkim have done as well as Kerala, with an IMR of 7, while Nagaland and Mizoram have also done extremely well with IMR figures of 4 and 5.

Senior health officials said that Kerala’s achievement was specifically due to the major initiatives and investments it had made in the area of neonatal health. The data specific to neonatal and under-five mortality would however be released only next month,

“We achieved the IMR of 10 in 2018 (reference year being 2016) and seven out of these 10 infant deaths were neonatal deaths. Our IMR had been stagnant at 12 for several years till 2016, when we turned our attention to improving neonatal mortality,” a senior official said.

Low birth rate

Since 2016, the State’s strategy has been to focus on improving critical care of neonates with substantial investments in major tertiary-care maternity hospitals at Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode, which now seems to have paid off.

The number of neonatal ICU beds was increased in all these centres.

Kerala’s birth rate has also reduced fractionally from 14.2% to 13.9%, which is also the lowest in the country among bigger States.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 3:13:02 PM |

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