The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)in Karnataka has gone up by 1 point, from 24 in 2016 to 25 in 2017, according to the Sample Registration System (SRS) by the officials from the Department of Health and Family Welfare in the state. This is a matter of serious concern. IMR indicates the number of deaths per 1000 live births in a given time period and for a given region.
Karnataka had successfully lowered its IMR from 28 in 2015 to 24 in 2016. This was a massive jump and it seems that the state hasn't been able to maintain it.
Speaking at the inauguration of a workshop on Measles and Rubella Elimination in the state, Jawaid Akthar, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka, said, "In a recent meeting we had at the office of the Commissioner, it has been found to our dismay that the IMR has risen by one in 2017." This is the latest data available with the Department of Health and Family Welfare in Karnataka. Poor reporting of health issues among the newborn and laxity on part of the health workers in the state has been contributing to this, Principal Secretary indicated.
"There are several problems in terms of not entering the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), not entering the data of check-ups in tabs given to them. There is also misclassification. IMRs are classified as perinatal death," Akthar said.
He also added that Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are not qualified enough for the work and hence, training them was essential.
Speaking on training, he said, "The role that Reproductive Child Health Officers play is crucial. They must hand out notes to ASHA just like they do in coaching centres. Our levels of targets are going up"
The SRS is a large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate, and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and regional level.
Even though the IMR in Karnataka has gone up, it is relatively better than the national average. The infant mortality rate stands at 33 infant deaths per thousand live births in 2017, on a national scale. In the last 10 years, due to consistent efforts by the Department of Health and Welfare and advancement in medicine, IMR has witnessed a decline of about 36.7% in rural areas and about 36% in urban areas at the national level. IMR at the pan India level has declined from 53 to 33 in the last decade. More specifically, the rural areas have seen a decline in the IMR from 58 to 37 and urban areas, from 36 to 23.