Haryana has registered a rise in the death rate of infants between April to June this year. The state has witnessed a record rise of 46 percent in the number of deaths of infants. The most casualties were children between 7 days to 1 year of age. The decrease in access to health services during the initial phase of lockdown is one of the biggest causes of this hike in the death toll.
According to The Tribune’s report, the information provided by the Civil Registration System states that a total of 1,208 infants, including 649 male and 559 female babies, have died during the April-June quarter. The number of deaths has increased by 45.9 percent as compared to last year. In 2019, for the same quarter, the number of infant deaths was recorded to be 828 which increased to 1,208 in 2020. The information was accessed under the RTI Act from the state Health Department’s Birth and Death Registration Wing by The Tribune.
Data suggests 691 infants passed away within seven days from their birth, while 182 died between 7-28 days, and 335 deaths were of babies aged between 28 days to 1 year. The corresponding figures for last year were 439, 110, and 279.
As per The Hindu, Rohtak district in Haryana recorded the highest number of deaths at 377 while Nuh and Faridabad recorded 97 and 79 deaths respectively. The number of births during the April-June 2020 was around 1.07 lakh as compared to 1.04 lakh last year for the same period.
Overall, around 45, 284 deaths were recorded in Haryana in the April-June period, which showed a rise of 2.1 percent as compared to 44,334 in 2019s corresponding quarter.
The Director-General of Health Services for Haryana, Suraj Bhan Kamboj said that the reported rise in death percentage cannot be ascribed to any one factor. According to the officials, the actual reason can be chalked out only after analyzing individual cases.
Health Economist at Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh, Prof. Aswini Nanda said that the infant death rates increased as the extension health staff from ANMs and ASHA workers were busy in COVID duty. He also said that during the initial phases of lockdown, the transport facility and OPDs in government and private hospitals were shut. The inaccessibility of health services might have been a cause for the rise in death rate amidst the lockdown period.
Indian Medical Association’s state unit president, Dr. Prabhakar Sharma pointed out that towards March-end there was a lot of miscommunication on the closure of OPDs from the government’s end. However, following the governments’ directive the OPDs were reopened in mid-April as patients were suffering because of the government health facilities remaining shut.