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Stillbirth rates are double the national average in Uttarakhand

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DEHRADUN: According to data provided by the National Health Mission (NHM), Uttarakhand, there were eight stillbirths per 1,000 live births in 2019, which is more than twice the national average of three per 1,000.

The figures for the other Himalayan states were comparable that year, with the exception of J&K, which had the fewest stillbirths (one per thousand).

Kerala had the lowest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality. The state with the lowest infant mortality was Mizoram. With numbers that were fairly close to the national average, Uttarakhand performed marginally better in these parameters.

Authorities blamed reliance on unregistered medical professionals and a lack of timely healthcare in the hills for the alarming trend of rising stillbirth rates.

Stillbirths in Uttarakhand
Stillbirths in Uttarakhand

“Quacks appear in areas with high population densities, such as Haridwar or even Dehradun. They are the main cause of these health issues but are never held responsible. We will work to stop such behaviour across the state by taking action against them “said NHM mission director Dr. R. Rajesh Kumar.

The state’s challenging geography, which prevents timely healthcare from reaching people in hilly areas, is another major factor, according to another senior official of the programme.

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This was demonstrated on July 22 when a young mother gave birth to a baby boy in the hospital’s restroom and both the mother and the child passed away shortly after.

In terms of infant mortality cases (deaths of children under one year of age), Uttarakhand recorded 24 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019, which was relatively close to the national average of 28 deaths per 1,000 live births that year.

Compared to the national average of 22 per thousand in 2019, the rate of neonatal mortality (deaths of infants under 28 days old) was 19 per thousand.

In the state, the mortality rate for children under five (deaths within five years of birth) was 30 per thousand, which was in line with the national average for that year. Compared to the national average of 103 per lakh, the hill state’s maternal mortality rate was 101 per lakh.

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Kerala had the lowest rates of maternal, neonatal, and under-five mortality—30 per lakh, 5,000/1,000, and 9,000/1,000, respectively. With only three infant deaths per thousand, Mizoram had the lowest infant mortality rate.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals study from 2020, the state’s immunisation rate for children between the ages of 9 and 11 months was 90 percent, which is slightly lower than the national average of 91 percent. Maharashtra had the highest percentage of this at 100%.

In addition, Uttarakhand’s institutional delivery rate (88.8%) was significantly lower than the national average (94.4 percent ). Goa did best, scoring 99.9 percent.

Only 15 doctors, nurses, and midwives are employed for every 10,000 people in Uttarakhand, compared to the national average of 36.54. Kerala once more performed best in this, with 115 medical professionals per 10,000 people.

The numbers are expected to significantly improve in the upcoming years, according to officials.

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