SRINAGAR: Amid the unending cycle of bad news, Jammu and Kashmir has finally got something to cheer at. Its Infant Mortality Rate, deaths per 1000 live births, has been significantly lowered – 14 deaths down, from 34 to 20. This has brought it to the seventh rank among all states and UTs, with 10 deaths less than the all-India average.
The 2021 Sample Survey System (SSS) done by the Registrar General of India (RGI) has revealed that all the states in India have improved their IMR between 2014 and 2019.
Jammu and Kashmir had recorded an IMR of 34 in 2014. Kerala tops the list with just 6 deaths per 1000 births, the only state with a single digit IMR. Its IMR was 12 in 2014.
Dr Shabir Ahmad, Superintendent of the Lal Ded hospital, the leading maternity hospital in the Valley, told Kashmir Reader that a robust monitoring system in place has changed the situation. The key was the improvement in sanitation, he said.
According to him, the hospital mops the wards three times a day with chemicals to keep any infection at bay. Followed by this, he said, there are regular weekly maintenance checks in the ventilators.
“From 200 litres per minutes to 2200 liters per minute is the oxygen supply to the ventilators now. A nurse now takes care of just four beds. Staff strength has been improved,” he added.
At Lad Ded, more than 36,000 babies are born in a year, which is more than 30 percent of all hospital births in Kashmir. Having a capacity of 650 beds, about 550 patients remain admitted to the hospital on average every day. The number means 1100 when babies are taken into consideration.
Dr Ahmad said that a review meeting every month about the cases of births and deaths has helped to correct many things, which has led to less infant deaths than in the past.
Dr Masarat Rasheed, Consultant Gynacologist at the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Charar-e-Shareef, said that less referrals to Srinagar hospitals have been a main reason for the improvement. Now, she said, most the patients are treated in local hospitals. From frequent referrals to just three a month is the situation now at the SDH, she said.
Awareness among the patients, and improvement in overall health care system, has also contributed to the improvement.