Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Phulbani, Sep 20:

The infant mortality rate (IMR) is alarmingly high in Odisha’s Kandhamal district as around 3,000 infants died in the district in the last 5 years due to malnutrition and lack of awareness programmes.

malnourished children nagada

As per Government data, as many as 555 newborns died in 2011-12. While 80 infants died in Daringibadi block, 77 died in Phiringia block. Notably, G Udayagiri registered nil infant deaths during that year.

Similarly, 547 infants died in 2012-13 here out of which a highest 95 infants deaths were reported in Daringibadi and 80 in Phiringia. Phulbani block registered no infant deaths.

However, the IMR in 2013-14 was 596, from which 69 died in Phiringia and 55 in Kothagada. But in Raikia, only six infants died from malnutrition. The death rates of 2014-15 was 622. from which 108 died in Phiringia, 96 died in Daringibadi, 70 died in Tumudibandh and 60 died in Kothagada. But in Phulbani the death rate was 9, as per the reports.

The infant deaths in 2014-15 rose to 622 in which Phiringia registered 108 deaths followed by Daringibadi at 96, Dumudibandha at 70, Kotagarh at 60 and Phulbani at nine.

But in 2015-16 the death rate shot up as 628 infants died till August this year. As many as 151 deaths were reported from district headquarters hospital, 60 from Daringibadi and 59 from Phiringia.

According to a survey done by a private organization, the IMR is staggeringly high as compared to the government figures. The survey puts the numbers at 5,000 infant deaths in the last 5 years in the state. The survey attributed the deaths to non availability of nutritional diet to expectant mothers, poor quality food at Anganwadi centres.

What make the scenario worse is Anganwadi supervisors are not inspecting the Anganwadi centres periodically. Besides, lack of adequate manpower has added to the misery. As per reports, 22 Anganwadi Supervisor’s post are lying vacant and CDPO are not available in five blocks.

As per the survey, awareness programmes do not reach the beneficiaries as little or no efforts are made at administrative level. In view of the grim situation, a separate master plan is needed to tackle the situation, it added.