Reports of a young woman having delivered a stillborn in the middle of a road after being denied admission at Macherla Government Hospital sent shock waves across the state, but Tirupatamma is not alone in her tragedy. The decreased number of institutional deliveries has resulted in a spike in infant and maternal mortality rates across the state.

The number of deaths in the third quarter of the current fiscal is marginally lower than that of the second. A total of 2,466 infants died in a span of three months — October to December — in the state. In the second quarter, that is from July to September, 2,497 infant deaths were recorded. A difference of a paltry 31. The alarming situation was brought to the fore at the Collector’s Conference which concluded on Saturday.

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In Kurnool district alone, 434 infant deaths took place in the third quarter and 442, in the second. Anantapur, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Chittoor and Guntur districts recorded over 250 infant deaths each. One hundred fifty-nine maternal deaths took place in the third quarter, just seven less than the 166 lives lost in the second quarter. Kurnool district registered 35 maternal deaths in the third quarter as against the second quarter’s 9. East Godavari, West Godavari, Guntur, Anantapur and Visakhapatnam saw between 12 and 15 maternal deaths each.

Speaking to KhabarLive Nellore district DMHO C Varasundaram said, “There is a slight increase in maternal and infant deaths in the district. But when compared to other districts, we are much better. However, we will initiate steps to make sure that the district doesn’t have any such death in 2018.” As part of Anna Amrutha Hastham program, all pregnant and lactating women are provided nutritional meals and health drinks.

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Under Balamrutham scheme, all infants and children below five years of age are given healthy food at Anganwadi centres. However, statistics released during the Collector’s Conference only proves that all is not well as is being projected and that the state government’s measures to check infant and maternal deaths is nowhere near enough.

Sources in the Health Department told KhabarLive special programs were being mulled. “We have prepared a district-wise plan based on issues plaguing specific areas. We want to spread awareness on health and wellbeing in villages, especially among pregnant and lactating women to increase the number of institutional deliveries and check maternal and infant deaths,” said Additional Director of Health Geetha Prasadini.

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Though some the districts such as Krishna and Visakhapatnam recorded a fall in maternal mortality rate, certain others, particularly those in the Rayalaseema region marked a steep rise in the figures — Vizianagarma, 200%; Nellore, 40%; Chittoor, 11%; Kadapa, 100%; and Kurnool a startling 259%. #KhabarLive