03/03/2017 12:11 PM IST | Updated 03/03/2017 1:23 PM IST

Kerala Is As Good As US When It Comes To Saving Newborns

The state has achieved single digit IMR.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
New born baby of Sangeeta Devi at government district hospital in Noida.

Now here's some good news for Kerala.

The infant mortality rate (IMR) — the number of children under the age of 1 who die for every 1,000 born — has been brought down to 6 in the state. And this is at par with the US and the average for developed nations.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2015-16, Kerala has emerged as the safest place in India in saving newborn children.

As Times Of India notes, if India, with a current IMR of 41 could get it down to 6, around seven lakh children would be saved each year.

At an IMR of 12, far below the national average of 41, the state has always been ahead of the rest of the country. However, it has been struggling to get to a single digit for a while now.

"There has been a focus on IMR as part of the millennium development goals, which gained momentum in the last seven to eight years even though the goals were launched in 2000. In our own hospital, we have seen neonatal mortality fall by half," Dr Mohandas Nair, additional professor in paediatrics in Kozhikode Medical College told ToI.

The NFHS for 2015-16 unveiled by the Health Ministry was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men, and for the first time provide district level estimates.

"Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4. IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade. It dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

The survey also stated that sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males) improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade with the highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977).

Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.

Similarly, institutional births "dramatically" increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7 per cent in NFHS-3 to 78.9 per cent in NFHS-4.

There was an increase of 34.1 per cent institutional births in public facility, while the Empowered Action Group (EAG) in Assam experienced more than a 40 percentage point increase, the survey said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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