According to Sample Registration System Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has improved in Jammu and Kashmir from 20 to 17.
The officials credit effective implementation of quality healthcare services and focus on safe institutional delivery of women in achieving the feat. The IMR is even 11 points down than the national average of 28 per cent which is in consonance with claims made by the officials.
As was observed by the Supreme Court, “unprecedented neonatal/infant deaths took place in January-May 2012” in one of hospitals meant for the children here. While over 500 infants died alone in 2012, the top court had underlined that the quality of medical care in government hospitals across J&K was a matter which should receive attention. The observations were made by the top court in 2016 and in four years proceeding to the matter, the high court had passed numerous orders which prompted a response from officials which seems to be showing up now. In the last several years, many gains have been achieved towards the ultimate goal.
Pertinently, according to National Family Healthy Survey (NFHS-5), conducted by International Institute of Population Sciences Mumbai, J&K recorded 22 points decrease in Neonatal Mortality Rate (NNMR) from 23.1 to 9.8, 16 and 19 points decrease in Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) from 37.6 to 18.5, which is unprecedented and is the reflection of health status of general population.
The report had also pointed out a positive change towards the girl child and recorded improvement in Sex Ratio at birth from 923 to 976 females per1000 males.
The average number of children per woman, measured by Total Fertility Rate (TFR), has also shown a significant improvement since last report which decreased from 2.0 to 1.4.
While selective achievements are important, they cannot always be a sign of overall progress.
There are connected issues such as malnutrition among women and children which need attention to achieve the feat. Constant efforts need to be taken to further improve the rate which, therefore, encompasses taking care of the health of the mother and the new born preceding the birth and following the birth of the infant. The government should aim at bringing the IMR in single digit and to achieve the remarkable feat, a lot of effort on many counts is needed and there is no room for complacency.