Bengaluru: With an infant mortality rate of 28 per 1,000 live births, the state has reason to worry following the recent deaths of newborns in Kolar’s Sri Narasimha Raja Hospital,which has raised questions about the quality of care in its hospitals.
Referring to the infant deaths in Kolar, Dr Rajini, Deputy Director of Child Health, Karnataka Health Department, says infants are prone to sepsis because of their low birth weight, which also attracts a host of other complications.
“Blaming the death on unhygienic handling of the infants is not correct as factors, including the mother’s BMI, are also major contributors to a healthy delivery,” he insists.
Denying that there has been any under-reporting of such cases, Dr Rajini adds, “In 2014 our department recorded 17,000 infant deaths while the statistical department reflected 15,000. So there is no way we can under-report the deaths. Our mechanism is extremely robust and each infant death is audited.
“Also every dead infant is given a death certificate, so the issue of under reporting does not arise.”
The officer reveals that the department’s focus is currently on Belagavi, Bidar, Vijayapura and Koppal which have high infant mortality rates. Karnataka hopes to reduce its infant mortality rate to 26 per 1000 live births in 2017-2018 and then to 22 in 2019-2020.
But BJP MLA from Malleswaram, Dr C.N. Ashwathnarayan, charges that the recent deaths of newborns in Kolar reflect a complete failure of the public healthcare system in the state.
“When the government has so many robust schemes for ante-natal and post- natal care, why is this happening at all? The government should take responsibility for these deaths. They cannot be justified,” he adds....