In the news: Gujarat's rising maternal mortality, abandoned babies in Hyderabad and more

A wrap of health news over the past week.

More new mothers have been dying in Gujarat: CAG

Maternal mortality has been rising in Gujarat since 2014, according to a report tabled in the state assembly by the Comptroller Auditor General last week. The maternal mortality ratio, the report finds, has risen from 72 per 1,00,000 live births in 2013-’14 to 85 in 2015-’16. This report contradict the Gujarat government’s claims that its health indicators have been improving.

The CAG finds that, given this step back, it will be difficult for the state to achieve its target maternal mortality ratio of 67, which it was supposed to achieve by March 2017. Even the implementation of the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, a central government scheme, has not helped improve the maternal mortality, said the CAG.

Moreover, the report finds that 15,817 newborns died in Gujarat within the first week of birth due to lapses on the part of the health department in providing prescribed care and treatment. For instance, between the years 2013 and 2016, 56% of home deliveries were performed in the absence of skilled birth attendants. State health services have also not ensures a minimum stay of 48 hours after a normal delivery for the better care and treatment of a mother and child, the report said.

The report also finds that the state was supposed to operationalise 50% of its primary health centres as 24x7 centres by 2010 and yet, as of August 2016, only 24% PHCs functioned round the clock.

400 CRPF jawans at Kerala camp ill from food poisoning

An enquiry has been ordered into a case of suspected food poisoning at a Central Reserve Police Force force camp at Pallipuram in Kerala’s capital Thirvanathapuram on Sunday.

About 400 jawans complained of stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting after supposedly eating a fish curry served at the camp on Saturday evening. Of those that took ill, 109 are under observation at the Trivandrum Medical College hospital.

Newborn babies abandoned in Hyderabad

The body of a newborn male baby was found in a garbage dumping area near Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital last week, The News Minute reported. The baby was premature at seven months. The Hyderabad police are conducting an investigation to find out who the parents are and have registered a case of concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body.

While the police say that this is the third complaint they have received in the last four months about a baby being dumped in the garbage, child rights activists say that there have been at least 17 cases in the last three months of newborns being abandoned. Of the 17 cases, one activist said, 14 were girl children. Activists also point out that many babies born with disabilities have been found abandoned.

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