As many as 151 infants died in different hospitals between April and July, reflecting a grim infant and child health care situation in Odisha which recently reported an alarming rate of deaths of newborns in Cuttack and Kandhamal.
The official statistics show the abysmal state of child health care in Kendrapara, which is the home district of state Health Minister Atanu Sabysachi Nayak, where several posts of paediatricians were lying vacant.
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"What has made matters worse is the vacancies of paediatricians posts in the government-run hospitals," the senior official said.
Statistics of past four months show an average of nearly 38 newborns dying every month. Altogether 5,615 institutional deliveries were conducted during the period, the official said adding 128 infants were born at home since past four months.
Poor health infrastructure of child and maternity care are principally attributed to rise in cases of neo-natal and infants deaths, the official said.
The district accounts for 54 primary health centres, seven community health centres and 204 sub-centres while the district headquarters hospital at Kendrapara is the premier referral hospital here.
As many as 11 posts of paediatric specialists have fallen vacant across the district while there are instances of health centre running without doctors. Pharmacists and paramedics run the heath service network in most places, the official added.