Child mortality rate is still alarming in PalpaNine infants died within 28 days of birth while the total death of children under five years was 12 in the first three months of the current fiscal year.
Chandra Bahadur and his wife Laxmi lost their 49-day-old son on November 29. The residents of Somadi Tangsial in Palpa had taken their baby for vaccination to a nearby health camp.
“He cried all the way back home after receiving vaccination and a polio drop,” said Laxmi. “He died the same night.”
The parents did not make much of the baby crying, thinking that it was “normal” for babies to cry out in pain after vaccination. “We did not take him to a health post because we thought he was doing fine,” said Chandra Bahadur.
According to Laxmi, a health worker at the camp had administered four different vaccinations—BCG, PCV, FIPU and DPT—and polio drops to the infant.
Laxmi had her delivery in Mission Hospital in Tansen. Her 49-month old child was her eighth and was born prematurely. The newborn had been kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital for 28 days before he was discharged.
Dilip Prasad Mahato, chief at Somadi Health Post, said the infant’s death was unusual. “A newborn has to be monitored carefully for 24 hours after receiving a vaccination. Laxmi’s son was born prematurely, which could mean that he might have been born with medical problems,” said Mahato.
Despite launching various programmes, including immunisation, safe motherhood and nutrition, the child mortality rate is still alarming in Palpa district.
According to the data available at the Health Office in Palpa, 19 children below the age of 28 days died in 2016/17 while the total death of children under five years of age in the same fiscal year was 44. The figure was 22 and 35 respectively in 2017/18. In the fiscal year 2018/19, nine infants under the age of 28 days died while the total death of the children below the age of five was 15.
The child mortality rate in the first three months of the current fiscal year 2019/20 has raised concerns among health officials in the district. According to Om Prakash Panthi, the immunisation officer in the district, nine infants died within 28 days of birth while the total death of children below five years of age was 12 in the first three months.
According to him, respiratory problems, pneumonia, heart ailments, malnutrition, amentia and diarrhoea are the major reasons behind the death of infants in the district.
Bishwanath Neupane, acting chief at the Health Office in Palpa, admitted that efforts have fallen short when it comes to controlling infant mortality rate in the district. “People in remote villages are not educated and therefore are not aware of public health issues. We haven’t been able to penetrate remote areas, and our drives haven’t been effective in controlling infant mortality rate,” said Neupane.
Villagers in the remote areas of Palpa do not have easy access to health care services. They have to walk as long as five hours to reach the nearest health facility, which might have contributed to the alarming rate of infant mortality in the district. “We will coordinate with the local units and launch various programmes in remote areas,” Neupane said.
According to the National Demographic Health Survey-2016, the neonatal mortality rate in the nation is 21; the infant mortality rate is 32; and the under-five mortality rate is 39.