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Odisha lags behind in IMR, MMR, primary health care: Union Health minister

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 20:

Union Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today expressed concern over the high infant and maternal mortality (IMR & MMR) rates in Odisha and the state government’s failure in meeting the target of adequate number of primary health centres to provide better health service to the people in the state.

“Even though Odisha has successfully decreased the infant and maternal mortality rates in recent years, the rates are still higher than the national average and steps need to cut it down further. Besides, the number of primary health centres is still below the target, which is hampering the health services in the state,” said the Uinion Health minister at a press conference here.

Dr Harsh Vardhan addressing media
Dr Harsh Vardhan addressing media

The Union inister had a review meeting with the state government officials during his two day visit to Odisha.

According to the Registrar General of India’s data, infant mortality rate in India stood at 42 for every 1,000 live births in 2012, while it is 53 in Odisha. Similarly, maternal mortality rate is around 235 in Odisha against the national average of 178 per one lakh births.

Although the maternal mortality rate in India dropped from 212 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2007-09 to 178 in 2010-12, the country is still far behind the target of 103 deaths per live births to be achieved by 2015 under the United Nations-mandated millennium development goals.

More than 85% of the total births took place in government institutions in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha in 2011 according to the Annual Health Survey (AHS) data.

The Minister also pointed out that there is shortfall of doctors, key specialists, nurses, health workers, technicians and other vital human resources.

He, however, said that the Centre is committed to the development of health sector in the state.

“More investment is being considered for Odisha as the state has the potential to be the leading health services destination in eastern India. The state can be developed as a model in eastern India. We will provide all assistance to the state,” said the Minister.

Meanwhile, the Minister has directed the AIIMS, Bhubaneswar officials to expedite the process of completion of basic facilities for the medical institute so that it can be dedicated to the country on the birth anniversary of BJP’s first Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on December 25.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the state on the occasion and dedicate it to the people.