Haryana districts ‘hide’ mother-infant deaths

SIRSA: If Haryana is unable to know that it’s faced with an unenviable task of a growing number of mother-infant deaths, there''s a reason.

harinder@tribunemail.com

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Sirsa, July 31

If Haryana is unable to know that it’s faced with an unenviable task of a growing number of mother-infant deaths, there's a reason. In the social sector's dull and dry data, the state government's agents of change have failed the test of truthfulness. Sample this: there are wide gaps in the reports of district authorities and National Health Mission (NHM) on mother-infant deaths. 

Of 3,307 infant deaths, only 728 found mention in district reports to the state government and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. And, of 145 maternal deaths, just 21 were reported on the NHM portal Health Management Information System (HMIS). The rest have been “concealed”.

The facts came to light during a recent videoconferencing under the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign where it was pointed out that there were huge gaps in the information on mother-infant deaths in Haryana, in the data uploaded on the HMIS and the one available on the Maternal and Infant Death Reporting System (MIDRS) of the state. A copy of data available with the MIDRS and the HMIS is available with The Tribune.

"During the videoconferencing, civil surgeons of all districts were asked to report correct figures of maternal and infant deaths as the data is important for planning at the state level," said Fatehabad Additional Deputy Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal.

While the health authorities are supposed to upload data on the HMIS on a daily basis, the NHM collects data for the MIDRS through different sources, including reports by auxiliary nurse midwives working in village sub-centres, anganwadi workers of the Women and Child Development Department, data available with the 102 ambulance services, ASHA workers, surveillance volunteers of the NHM and death reviews.

"However, it has been noticed that the authorities at the district level tend to underreport deaths to avoid explanations to the seniors," said a source in the state Health Department.

"Underreporting of maternal and infant deaths creates problems while dealing with the issue at the headquarters, particularly since the issue is very important for the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan of the Prime Minister," said Dr Yogendra Malik, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's aide in the campaign.

A gap of 100 per cent was noticed in the reporting of maternal deaths from April to June, 2015, by the health officials in Sirsa, Fatehabad, Ambala, Faridabad, Jind Kaithal, Mahendragarh, Panchkula, Panipat, Rewari and Rohtak, who did not report a single death of the 5, 9, 2, 8, 5, 4, 4, 2, 3, 8 and 4 maternal deaths in the respective districts during this period.

Yamunanagar was the only district to have reported the actual two maternal deaths that took place during the first trimester. However, all other districts reported 60-90 per cent lesser deaths.

But in infant deaths, Yamunanagar too was found guilty of reporting 63 per cent lesser deaths. All other districts had a huge gap in reporting infant deaths with Jind (100 per cent), Rohtak (98 per cent), Kaithal (97 per cent), Panipat (92 per cent) and both Palwal and Rewari (89 per cent) each.

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