Haryana has recorded a rapid decline — by five points — in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), said Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Monday, as he highlighted the multi-pronged strategy adopted by the Haryana government to reduce the Infant and Child Mortality Rates in the state. Vij was in Sector 1, Panchkula ,to launch government’s flagship programme — Mothers Absolute Affection (MAA) for promotion of breastfeeding. Under the programme, all districts in the state will organise awareness camps to educate women about the need to improve infant and child feeding indicators which are crucial for prevention of malnutrition. The state has around 29 per cent underweight children.
“As per the latest available Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin of RGI published in July, IMR of the state is 36 per thousand live births as compared to 39 of India. Under-five mortality of state has also declined by 5 points from 45 to 40 as compared to India (45/1000 live births),” said Vij, as he highlighted that the state was also awarded as the best state for reduction in infant mortality at 3rd National Summit on “Good and Replicable practices and innovations in public health facilities” held in Tirupati.
As many as 16 new vaccine vans were also flagged off for various districts at the event.The vaccine vans will ensure that there is effective vaccine delivery to the medical stores of the hospitals. “Breastfeeding is the most natural and cost-effective intervention and should be promoted at all levels. Apart from doctors, ASHA and anganwadi workers play a crucial role to promote, protect and support the concept,” said Vij, as he felicitated ASHA workers of the state with appreciation certificates.
While speaking on the occasion, Rajan Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary of Health, Haryana, urged people to participate in the campaign by dispelling myths and misconceptions. Under the programme, ASHA workers will regularly organise mothers’ meetings to spread key messages on breastfeeding. Awards will be given to those health facilities that show high rates of breastfeeding along with processes in place for lactation management.
Dr Saket Kumar, Mission Director, National Health Mission and Commissioner of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Haryana said that FDA will also play a regulatory role in implementation of the Infant Milk Substitute Act (IMS act). “We will take strict action against any company which is misleading people with aggressive marketing and doing misbranding of baby food products and infant milk substitutes,” he said.