Kerala, which has made tremendous achievements in bringing down the Maternal and Infant mortality, is for further lowering the graph of maternal as well as infant deaths.
Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja said that the aim was to bring down the Infant mortality to five per 1000 births. She said this while addressing an international webinar ‘Reducing Infant Mortality’ organized by the State Health Department. The webinar looked into the possibilities of achieving Sustainable Development Goals in the health sector.
Kerala has announced the goal of reducing maternal and infant mortality in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016, the Infant Mortality Rate in Kerala was 12 per 1000 births, she said. The goal was to bring it down to ten per 1000 births. In 2017, the Infant Mortality rate came down to seven. As peer the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the Infant Mortality Rate shall come down to five, she said.
Shylaja also mentioned that maternity wards and allied facilities in hospitals in the state were upgraded in line with the central government’s ‘Lakshya’ initiative. This helps in improving the quality of labor rooms.
Meanwhile, professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the USA Richard Cash said that Kerala could further reduce maternal and infant mortality and achieve strides in health if it focused on other factors besides focusing on primary health centres.
He mentioned that it was great pride that the state can be compared to the United States and England in terms of health indicators. However, he said that the state should learn lessons and adopt strategies from countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
UNICEF India Health Specialist Dr. Sreedharan said that everyone should be brought together in achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Although Kerala’s healthcare system is much better than other parts of India, it needs the services of experts in various fields, including eye diseases and hearing impairments. Dr. Rakhi Dandona of Public health Foundation said
She also said that Kerala could start research on maternity care, neonatal care, gestational diabetes and obesity, and neonatal growth and development to reduce mortality.
Factors such as high female literacy, delivery in hospitals, state of the art health centers, transportation facilities, education and public health care have helped Kerala to reduce maternal mortality rates, said senior consultant VP Pyle
Former President of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Dr. S S Kammath, Director of Medical Education Dr Ramlabeevi, Health Services Director Dr. Saritha R L, Child Health State Nodal Officer; Sreehari M also shared their views and suggestions on the subject.