RTI reveals low birth weight largest causal factor for infant mortality
An application was filed with the Department of Health, Maharashtra under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the details of child mortality in the state. The reply to the application reveals that low birth weight and pneumonia happen to be behind most of the infant deaths. It also shows that neonatal deaths (0-28 days) constitute more than three-quarters of under-five mortality.
The data provided in the reply states that 31,436 children died in 2011-12 in the state, out of which nearly 83% did not live beyond 28 days of birth. The data shows that low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg) accounted for 23 per cent of total infant deaths in 2010-11 and since then it has remained the single largest cause of child deaths. The reply shows that pneumonia was the second largest factor behind infant deaths accounting for almost 20%. In numbers, it caused 6,362 deaths out of which 5,572 were of neonates. The other major factors responsible for infant deaths were congenital anomalies, particularly of the heart, neonatal hepatitis, diarrhoea and septicemia.
Though the state fares well with respect to most of the other states, its Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) being 31 in comparison to the national average of 50, experts opine that a lot need to be done.