GUWAHATI, Nov 14 � If high-rise buildings, costly and sophisticated facilities are seen as the determiners of quality health care approach, this could be an eye-opener!
The otherwise flood-ravaged and underdeveloped district of Dhemaji has turned out to be one of the safest places to give birth to a child in India. In spite of all odds, it has now managed to bring down the mortality rate much below the national average of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), even as Assam continues to be the worst performing State in the country alongside Madhya Pradesh.
The IMR of Dhemaji, as per the latest report, is 37 per 1,000 live births (2013-14) compared to national average of IMR which is 40.
As the trend of the first seven months of the current financial year (2014-15) indicates, it is expected that Dhemaji will leave the national average further behind by the end of another five months, Assam government record stated.
This year (2014-15) till the month of October, Dhemaji has registered only 105 deaths compared to last year�s tally of 289 hinting the downward trend further. Assam has the highest infant mortality rate in the entire country with 54 deaths per 1,000 live births along with Madhya Pradesh.
It may also come as a surprise for many that the infant mortality rate in Kamrup (including Metro) is also higher than Dhemaji, not to speak of other districts of Assam.
However, those instrumental behind the present state of affair in Dhemaji believe that the success has not come overnight.
Dr P Ashok Babu, who was the Deputy Commissioner of the district from 2008 to 2010,�made some path-breaking initiatives, the fruits of which are being reaped now. He was the one to introduce the child tracking system in Assam and created a well-oiled synergy among health workers at different levels.
�From 2008-11, we ran a project to streamline the health delivery service and raising demand for such services. The indicators skyrocketed during that period. The NRHM (NHM) supported the cause and thankfully it was maintained,� Dr Ashok Babu, who is currently the Deputy Commissioner (Nagaon), told The Assam Tribune.
He made health workers explain on every death reported. The accountability quotient kept the department going, opined a source at NHM.
Dr AK Buragohain, Joint Director (Health), Dhemaji, while talking to this reporter said, �Initiatives like PALNA and the introduction of the software by the then DC were some of the pioneering intervention. Most importantly, health workers had carried on the good work till date.�
Not just infant mortality, even the under-five mortality rate has been the lowest in the State and even above the national average.
Kokrajhar has been witnessing highest IMR in the State.