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Infant, neonatal mortality rates drop in Bengal: Report

Infant, neonatal mortality rates drop in Bengal: Report
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Kolkata: Under-five, infant and neonatal mortality rates have dropped in the state, as per National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS 5) 2019-20 released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently.

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has dropped to 22 per 1,000 live births against 27.5 in 2015-2016. Under-five mortality has also dropped to 25.4 from 31.8 in 2015-16. Neonatal Mortality Rate (NNMR) has reduced to 15.5 per 1,000 live births. The number stood at 22 in 2015-16. The latest survey shows that in urban areas, the neonatal mortality rate remains at 16.1 while in rural areas, the figure stands at 15.3 per 1,000 live births.

An infrastructural revamp carried out by the state government in the rural areas has yielded fruitful results. The national survey shows that institutional delivery has reached around 92 per cent in 2019-20 compared to 75.2 per cent in 2015-16.

Earlier, NFHS 4 showed that the institutional birth rate in public facilities remained at 56.6 per cent during 2015-16. But, the number in the latest report has gone up to 72.4 per cent, marking a significant improvement in the past four years.

It may be mentioned here that the Bengal government had set up 'pre-delivery huts' in the far-flung areas, to provide better healthcare facilities to pregnant women free of cost. The scheme was started by the state government. It was later announced as a model project by the Centre. These pre-delivery huts have turned out to be extremely beneficial for pregnant women, who often face difficulties in reaching the district hospitals.

The survey indicates over 94 per cent of the health professionals carrying out the deliveries are well-skilled whereas during 2015-16, only 81.6 per cent of the health professionals were adequately skilled. The total number of women whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is below normal dropped to 14.8 per cent in 2019-20 from 21.3 per cent in 2015-16.

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