Maharashtra: 955 Infants Died In Span of Five Months, Accepts Women And Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde
A total of 955 infants died in Maharashtra in a span of five months (Photo Credit: PTI/File)

Mumbai, July 10: Maharashtra’s Minister of Women and Child Development Pankaja Munde has admitted in the state assembly that close to thousand cases of infant mortality were reported in the state from September 2017 to January this year. The minister in a written reply to a starred question tabled in the state assembly accepted the 995 children of 0-6 months age group died in the span of five months.

According to a report published in The Times of India, Ajay Chaudhari, Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse-Patil and Jayant Patil were amongst the members who tabled the question in the assembly. These members wanted to know if there was an increase in the cases of infant mortality in the state and also if the cases of infant mortality were because of malnutrition among expectant mother.

Munde’s reply also gave an indication that the problem of high infant mortality rate prevailing in the state for last 30 years was not restricted only to hilly regions of the state but the issue had now spread over to 16 districts. Usually, hilly areas like Melghat in Vidarbha’s Amravati district or some parts in Thane had a high mortality rate. The minister said that a total of 2,161 infants died in the 16 districts. However, from September 2017 to January this year 133 infants died in Melghat will totals infant deaths in the state were 955.

In the reply, it was mentioned that malnutrition was not the only reason for the high mortality rate among infants but other reasons like premature birth, low birth weight and various diseases were also responsible. Munde in her reply also cited integrated child development scheme’s (ICDS) report. According to ICDS’s report, in December 2017, 6,663 infants suffered from malnutrition in Nashik, whereas 3,575 cases of malnutrition among infants were reported from Aurangabad.

The minister also mentioned that as per the chief minister’s guidelines of utilising the services of MBBS and BAMS doctors for the posts of ICDS project directors were also discussed. She also said that the government would also recruit for BA  (nutrition), BSc (home science), BSc (child psychology) and BA (clinical psychology) graduates for group B posts.