Both the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state governments may be vying with each other to give their capitals a tall skyscraper filled glass and steel look. But back in the hinterland, the human development indices are stinking.
Both are jointly ranked worse than underdeveloped states such as Jharkhand and Uttarakhand in terms of infant mortality rate (IMR), with 41 out of every 1,000 newborns dying before they reach the age of one year.
While IMR in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand stood at 38 and 34 infant deaths per ev ery 1,000 live births respectively, the IMR for undivided AP state was much higher, which local officials largely attribute to the Telangana statehood agitation. What is worse is that it in terms of IMR, undivided AP figured at the bottom of south Indian states comprising Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, according to the just released ‘State of India’s Newborns-2014’, a nationwide survey report on neonatal health indicators. The report was prepared by international NGO Save the Children, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
The comprehensive survey, also supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, placed Kerala on top with an IMR of 12 deaths per 1,000 live births, followed by Tamil Nadu’s IMR of 21, Karnataka’s 32 and APTelangana’s IMR of 41 deaths.
Something that is hard to believe was the undivided AP lagging behind remaining south Indian states even in other five key neonatal parameters as well, including
- neonatal mortality rate (death from birth to 28 days, per 1,000 live births),
- early neonatal mortality rate (death from birth to seven days),
- late neonatal mortality rate (death from eighth day to 28 days),
- post neonatal mortality rate (death from 28 days of birth to 364 days), and
- under five mortality rate (number of children dying before the age of five 1,000 live births in a year).
But, the million dollar question on what’s ailing the neonatal care in government hospitals in AP and Telangana has not been addressed. The report points to the failure in implementing centrally-funded schemes. The other problem is lack of convergence among officials, primary health centres, government hospitals and teaching hospitals respectively.