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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 7 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 world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Bat deaths in Himachal not due to Nipah Virus, Don’t panic: Govt

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Nipah virus in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: To put an end to the rumours of Nipah virus outbreak in Himachal Pradesh after dead bats were found in Sirmaur a couple of days ago and then in Mandi district on Friday, the State Government today issued a statement asking people not to panic about it.

Apart from the outbreak of Nipah Virus in two districts of Kerala State no information regarding its spread has been reported from any other part of Himachal as well as the country, stated Additional Chief Secretary, Health B.K. Agarwal in a meeting held here today.

He said that only fruit bats (flying fox) have been found carrying this virus. These types of bats are found in the coastal regions of the county.

Therefore, there is no possibility of Nipah Virus in the bats found in Himachal Pradesh.

He said that the bats reported having died in the state were not due to the virus as these species do not die by Nipah Virus.

Agarwal said that a few days back samples from dead bats in Sirmaur were collected and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for testing and all the samples were reported negative for Nipah Virus.

Additional Chief Secretary has advised people not to panic about the Nipah Virus. He said that all the medical colleges of the State were prepared to deal with the situation if needed.

Officers of Health, Animal husbandry, Forest & Horticulture department were present in the meeting, chaired by Agarwal.

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Misc News/Press Release

Met predicts state-wide rains in Himachal on May 31 and June 1

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rain prediction for himachal in 2018

Shimla: As a ray of hope amid acute water-scarcity prevailing in Himachal Pradesh’s various regions including the capital town Shimla, the Meteorological Department, Shimla, has predicted state-wide rain with thunderstorms on May 31 and June 1.

If lucky, four districts including Kangra, Kullu, Mandi, and Shimla can receive a spell of rain on May 29 and 30 too.

With the rains, the people also hope to see a relief from the scorching heat of summer sun and forest fires. The Fire Department is reportedly facing trouble in dousing forest fires due to water scarcity.

As per the Met department, District Bilaspur and Una recorded 41℃ and 43℃ temperature on Saturday.

The farmers in rural areas and the public in towns, both are facing a hard time due to a shortage of water. Shimla town has run into a situation of chaos as the Mayor Kusum Sadret on Friday left for her China visit. The situation is such that the Chief Minister had to call an emergency meeting with Irrigation & Public Health Department to take stock of the situation.

The High Court had also taken cognizance of the media report and directed the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to provide adequate funds to the State for water-supply schemes worth over Rs. 700 crores.

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Environment

400 fire watchers deployed, Rs. 1.75 cr. sanctioned for checking forest fires in Himachal: Forest Minister

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Forest fires in himachal pradesh

Shimla: The Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh Govind Singh Thakur today informed that four hundred fire watchers have been deputed across the State and added that Rs. 1.75 crore has been sanctioned by the GoI for checking and management of fire incidents in the State.

Every year, forest fires in summers turn a large amount of forest wealth to ashes. 

He said that State government has started a new project from this year for management of fire incidents by spending Rs. 1 crore additionally.

He also claimed that with a view to check the number of forest fire incidents in the State, the department implemented an awareness campaign in the month of March which proved effective and a lot of support and cooperation is coming from people in tackling fire incidents.

He said that about 9500 people got connected to the website of Forest Survey of India Dehradun which proved helpful to them in receiving information about fire incidents in their areas.

He said that the department also started a toll-free number for receiving this information. He said that the information regarding fire incidents is coming faster this year as compared to previous years due to these measures and action is being taken instantly.

He urged the people of the State to extend support to the department.

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