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‘Indian healthcare must pledge to check neonatal mortality’

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Hyderabad, Sep 17, 2021- September 17 is commemorated as the World Patient Safety Day, and this year the World Health Organization has come forward with “Safe Maternal & Newborn Care” as the theme to promote better maternity and childcare across the world.

Indian healthcare too must take a pledge to overcome this burden and strive towards arresting the problems that cause neonatal mortality, say the healthcare professionals.

India contributes to one-fifth of global child births, and the country is also a large contributor to the neonatal deaths.

In 2020, infant mortality rate for India was 29.07 deaths per thousand live births, which is considered a quarter of total global fatalities. It is also the highest in absolute numbers for any country in the world, and this depicts a poor image for a nation that intends to emerge into a global superpower.

Dr. Satwinder Singh Sabharwal, COO, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital, believes that availability of better-quality healthcare at affordable rates will ensure reduce neonatal mortality rate in India and around the World. “Proving easy access to best-in-class doctors and super-specialty healthcare is critical for financially backward and less privileged sections of the society will ensure more mothers do not have to face the heartburn of losing their newborn to ill-fate. Multi-specialty hospitals like ours, which offer best-in-class care at affordable rates are providing a possible solution to this problem,” he said.

Dr. Pradeep Panigrahi, Medical Director, SLG Hospitals pointed out that super specialty or modern healthcare is not just expensive but is also physically located at a distance from the common people. “More multi-specialty healthcare facilities need to come up in non-prime, and semi-urban settings to ensure more and more economically backwards sections take benefit of it. We are a hospital which is not located in the most prime localities, and we are easily accessible to those coming even from far-off locations like other districts and from locations with poor healthcare infrastructure. India needs more hospitals like ours to ensure best-quality treatment is available to all at all times,” he said.

According to Gaurav Khurana, CEO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals the first 24 hours is the most critical phase for every child after birth. “Cutting of umbilical cord ends child’s dependence on mother (placenta) for oxygen and nutrition; and from this stage to the child turning one year old is the most crucial phase. Ensuring right medical care at child’s birth will play a big role in child’s long life, and the medical fraternity in our country must take a pledge to make sure neonatal mortality is arrested, thus ensuring more children live-on to make India great,” he said.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has developed the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) in response to the global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) in 2014. INAP aims to significantly reduce preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths and to bring down the neonatal mortality rate and still born rate to ‘single digits’ by 2030.

Focus of INAP is on pre-conception and antenatal care; care during labor and childbirth; immediate newborn care; care of healthy newborn; care of small and sick newborn; and care beyond newborn survival. Indian healthcare fraternity hopes that their effort and the measures taken by the government together will help the country overcome this problem. (Agency)

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