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400 infants die in Bihar every day: UNICEF

Written by: Staff

Patna, Oct 24: On an average, more than 400 infants below the age of one year die in Bihar on any given day, while nearly two-third of infant deaths occur in the first month of the child's birth.

A survey conducted by UNICEF revealed that timely intervention can help save thousands of lives and thus reduce the child mortality rate which is a major component of National Rural Health Mission.

Every year 1,58,000 children below one year of age face preamature deaths in Bihar, the survey said.

''A number of reasons-particularly nutritional status of women, breastfeeding practices, health and hygiene practices, malnutrition, lack of services and professional advice and treatment at the village level are cited by experts as some of the contributing factors for infant deaths,'' a UNICEF release here said.

In order to reduce infant mortality rate, a unique strategy had been evolved in partnership with Bihar government providing for training of health and anganwadi professionals on counselling mothers about correct health and child care practices, said UNICEF state representative Bijaya Rajbhandari.

The strategy styled Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness had now been extended to five more districts-Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Patna and Darbhanga, after successful experiment in Vaishali where it was introduced 10 months ago, Mr Rajbhandari added.

He hoped that the initiative would halp save the lives of 20,000 new born babies in the five districts each year.


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