India still has a long way to go in neonatal care

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Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) Although efforts to reduce infant mortality rate in the country over the past 20 years have had a striking impact, still-births and newborn deaths still need significant attention to bring India at par with global standards, senior Neonatologists and Pediatricians said here on Thursday.

“With significant improvement in neonatal care, the neonatal mortality rate in the country has come down to 27 per 1,000 infants, compared to 120 infants per 1,000 a few years ago. However, the infrastructure of neonatal care in remote areas of the country is still lacking,” senior Consultant Pediatrician and Endocrinologist Subrata Dey said.

“The Scandinavian countries have a neonatal mortality rate of just two to three per 1,000 infants. This shows India still has a long way to go in effective neonatal retrievals,” he added.

The doctors said neonatal complications happen within 28 days or four weeks of a child’s birth, mostly due to lack of infrastructure to tackle higher birth rate and shortage of well-equipped medical facility in suburban and rural areas.

“In India, higher birth rate and lack of proper child care results in increased neonatal mortality. Lack of well-trained medical staff at the suburban hospitals and villages also compound the problem,” Consultant Paediatrician Tamal Laha said at the inaugural ceremony of Neonatal Retrieval Unit of Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals.

“Premature birth, birth asphyxia, infections and conditional anomaly are the four major reasons for infant deaths in India. The medical facilities within 500 kilometres of Kolkata which do not have the proper infrastructure to treat neonatal complications can be helped by the retrieval unit at a much lower cost here,” he added.

–IANS

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