Policy Matter

Chandigarh health department to boost mother and childcare services


To attain the lowest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, the UT Health Department will launch an action plan on Thursday.

Last year, while a total of 236 neo-natal deaths were reported in the city, the figure for maternal deaths stood at 18, which was double of what was reported in 2013.mother-and-childcare-services

When asked about the increase in the number of maternal deaths, Dr Soma Rani, District Family Welfare Officer said, “Although the data collected by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research recorded the number of maternal deaths to be 18, four cases were found to be from outside Chandigarh. Also, two deaths occurred because of swine flu.”

As per an in-house data, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) was 60.8 (per 1,000 live births) in 2013-14, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 21 and neo-natal mortality rate (NNMR) was 13.

By 2017, the UT Health Department aims to reduce the MMR to 50 per 1,000 live births and IMR to 12 per 1000 live births.

The analysis of the data showed three major causes of maternal and newborn mortality in the city. They can be attributed to delay in going to the health centre, delay in reaching the hospital and delay in receiving treatment. The indirect cause was anaemia.

The Iron Folic Acid (IFA) taken by pregnant women was only 37.4 per cent as per the District Level Health Survey-4. Also, pregnant women who received full antenatal care constituted only 30.6 per cent.

Director Health Services, Dr V K Gagneja, said that to ensure that maternal deaths due to anaemia is minimised, proper distribution of IFA for 100 days will be ensured.

He added, “To improve services for neo-nates, Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, will start a Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Two ventilators will be installed in the NICU, as a result of which, the crucial time wasted during referring neo-nates to other institutes can be saved.”

Dr Gagneja also talked about recruiting more ASHA workers, who will identify mothers needing immediate hospitalisation.

“A sound communication system in ambulances will be installed for linkages with secondary and tertiary care centres. We will also strengthen the referral system among hospitals,” he added.

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