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Shocking Rise In Premature Baby Deaths, Reveals Study

There has been a tremendous rise in the number of neonatal deaths in connection with premature births and babies with low-birthweight over the period of past 15 years even though the country has witnessed decline in early deaths from infections, according to health officials.

Shocking Rise In Premature Baby Deaths, Reveals Study

Big increase in the number of baby deaths due to premature births, despite govt efforts.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Baby deaths due to premature births up from 12.3/1000 to 14.3/1000
  2. Neonatal deaths owing to infections declining.
  3. 15-year research by Prabhat Jha, in collab with India's census office.
There has been a tremendous rise in the number of neonatal deaths in connection with premature births and babies with low-birthweight over the period of past 15 years even though the country has witnessed decline in early deaths from infections, according to health officials.

Child mortality patterns were examined and analysed for nearly 100,000 households in view of a decade long effort on part of the government to improve the maternity care faciliteis and infrastrucure in the country.

The findings highlight the fact that there's a need for even better and much more modern facilities and infrastructure in order to address the issue of neonatal mortality in the country.

The study has been published in the journal Lancet.

It was found in the study that there were nearly 3,70,000 early deaths due to premature birth or low-birthweight in India during the year 2015. It was also seen that there has been an increment of child deats due to premature birth and low-birthweight, from 12.3 per 1,000 live births in year 2000 to 14.3 per 1,000 live births in 2015.

Contrary to this, neonatal deaths owing to birth asphyxia and infections lowered down significantly during the same period of time.

Also, the number of child deaths in between the age of one month and five years due to infections also fell down considerably.

It is important here to not that the government has indulged in mass-level development of medical facilities and infrastructure with the view of checking neonatal deaths.

The proportion of institutional births have taken a commendable surge from about 40 per cent a decade ago to over 80 per cent as of today.

The researchers cite institutional deliveries, better vaccination campaigns and the promotion of helthy breastfeeding practices as the reason for infection-induced deaths.

Prabhat Jha, head of the Centre for Global Health Research India Foundation and also a professor at The University of Toronto said, "Future gains in reducing neonatal mortality may require expensive but still very cost-effective solution.

"Addressing premature births and low birthweight babies may require more investments in incubators and intensive care units for neonates", he added.

Also the neonatal deaths from premature birth wasn't uniform across th country. The numbers were way more dangerous in rurual locale and areas and poorer states as compared to urban areas and richer states.

Major rise in such deaths was seen in the states of Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

The study, lead by Jha and his colleagues is a part of the so-called million death study that was started a decade ago, in collaboration with the census office of India.

Also Read: Mother's Milk Gives Metabolic Boost To Preterm Babies

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