Governor calls for steps to contain infant deaths in Visakha Agency

14 infant deaths were reported n the area since May 2018

Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, who is also the Administrator of the Scheduled and Tribal areas in the State, has expressed concern over the rise in number of infant deaths Patharudakota village in Padabayalu Mandal in Visakhapatnam Agency. He instructed his Special Chief Secretary R.P. Sisodia to obtain a detailed report from the Secretary, Tribal Welfare, on the issue.

Mr. Sisodia has asked the Secretary, Tribal Welfare Department, for a detailed report and the remedial steps taken by the district administration to contain the infant deaths.

The Director of Tribal Welfare, in his report submitted to the Secretary, has said Patharudakota village was a multi-tribe habitation of 138 households with Bagatha, Kondadora and few Poraja families, and the villagers were panic stricken as 14 infant deaths were reported since May 2018. Of them, eight deaths were reported in the last nine months. All the deaths occurred within three months of their birth and all of them were institutional deliveries with normal birth weight and the mothers were reported to be in good health condition.

Calcium deficiency

After a detailed investigation, the deaths were attributed to calcium deficiency in the mothers and drinking water contamination due to rusting of the pipelines laid long time ago.

In response to the Governor’s call, the department has initiated steps such as replacing the drinking water pipeline, provision of a second ambulance for emergency medical service, deputing a multi-specialist team from the King George Hospital (KGH), Visakhapatnam, and deploying a staff nurse at the village for close observation of the health of the new-born infants.

Arrangements had also been made for the stay of lactating mothers along with their infant children at Birth Waiting Home in Munchingput, provision of additional nutrition to the pregnant and lactating mothers and laying of a drinking water pipeline to the Primary Health Centre.

Long-term steps

The Director of Tribal Welfare, in his report, outlined long term measures such as setting up proper communication facilities, construction of a bridge over the rivulet between Rudakota and Patharudakota villages and construction of residential quarters for the PHC staff.

Subsequently, a team of doctors from KGH visited P. Rudakota village of Pedabayalu mandal and examined the water, soil and other parameters to ascertain the cause. In their preliminary assessment, the doctors found that respiratory failure, due to lack of awareness of handling newborn babies, could also be one of the reasons for the deaths.

The Governor, meanwhile, has instructed officials of the Tribal Welfare Department to take immediate steps to contain the infant mortality rate in the Visakhapatnam Agency.

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