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Himachal set to meet the goals for under-five mortality rate and Infant mortality rate

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Only six of the 29 states, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab, and West Bengal, are likely to attain the goals of an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 26 per 1,000 live births and under five-morality rate of 42 by 2015.

Child mortality, which is a sensitive indicator of a country’s socio-economic development, has been a priority for the Government of India over the past several decades. The country has realized impressive gains in child survival however, at the current pace, is unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 -which aims to reduce Under-Five Mortality (U5MR) by two thirds between 1990 and 2015- unless the related socio-economic; maternal and demographic; and environmental determinants are urgently addressed.

This is one of the conclusions of The Infant and Child Mortality India Report released by the National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the UNICEF India Country Office. Six states, namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal are likely to achieve the goal by 2015.
Analyses of data from the Sample Registration System (1978-2010) and three rounds of National Family Health Surveys conducted in the years 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06 indicates that following the rapid decline in the seventies, U5MR stagnated in the nineties and then started declining again in the last decade. It fell to a level of 118 in 1990 to 93 in 2000 and 59 in 2009. Though U5MR has always been lower in urban than in rural areas, the decline in urban areas has been slower than in rural areas in the last two decades, narrowing the gap.

“Accelerating child survival calls for new approaches to child mortality that goes beyond disease-programme and sector-specific approaches,” said Dr. V.M Katoch, Director General Indian Council of Medical Research and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Government of India.

The study provides evidence on key social and economic determinants of U5MR. It especially highlights the impact of maternal education on child survival: the impact is high and significant when mothers have had at least 8 years of schooling. The report also highlights the fact that births to adolescent mothers are at a significant greater risk of dying in childhood; so are those born within 2 years of the previous pregnancy. The report further point out that maternal malnutrition (under nutrition) as well as obesity imposes a greater mortality risk on the off-springs.
While economic status was found to have a strong and significant association with child survival, the good news is that progress in child survival in India has been equitable: between 1981 and 2005, while U5MR has declined across all economic groups, the drop was much higher among the low Standard of Living Index (SLI) households (37%), than those born in high SLI (117%); thereby narrowing the gap.

“A renewed focus on empowering women and promoting equity in access to health services will help guide actions for accelerating child survival in India, as we move towards the year 2015 and beyond. We require a comprehensive approach that includes not only increasing coverage of key child survival interventions, but also improving quality of perinatal care, promoting education of girls beyond primary, delaying the age at marriage and childbirth and ensuring adequate spacing between births”, stated Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative.
In terms of environmental determinants, the study suggests that children living in households with access to unsafe source of drinking water were at greater risk of death. Neonatal, post-neonatal and child mortality is also higher for children in households that do not have access to a flush or pit toilet.

According to the Director of NIMS, Professor Arvind Pandey, the report is an important planning tool. “The results of this study underscore the need for addressing wider determinants of child mortality to achieve MDG-4 and not restrict to addressing only the direct causes.”
To read the Full Report click here

Press Note released by UNICEF

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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