Calcium deficiency, contaminated water behind rising infant deaths in Vizag

As per instructions of the Governor, Mr. Sisodia has asked the secretary of the tribal welfare department to prepare a detailed report on the rise in infant deaths in Patharudakota village.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  4 Jan 2022 10:43 AM GMT
Calcium deficiency, contaminated water behind rising infant deaths in Vizag

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, who is also the administrator of the Scheduled and Tribal Areas in the state, has expressed concern over the rising number of infant deaths in Patharudakota village in Padabayalu mandal in Visakhapatnam district. He instructed R.P Sisodia, the special chief secretary to the Governor, to obtain a detailed report from the secretary of tribal welfare on the issue.

As per instructions of the Governor, Mr. Sisodia has asked the secretary of the tribal welfare department to prepare a detailed report on the rise in infant deaths in Patharudakota village and the remedial steps taken up by the district administration.

In response to the letter from Mr. Sisodia, the secretary of tribal welfare forwarded a detailed report on the issue prepared by the director of tribal welfare.

The director of tribal welfare in his report stated that the Patharudakota village is a multi-tribe habitation of 138 households with Bagatha, Kondadora and a few Poraja families. The villagers were panic-stricken as a total of 14 infant deaths were reported since May 2018, out of which eight were reported within the past nine months. It was also reported that all infant deaths took place within three months of their birth and all were institutional deliveries with normal birth weight. The mothers were all healthy, it was reported.

Causes and measures

After a detailed investigation, the cause of infant deaths in the area was found to be calcium deficiency in the mothers as well as drinking water contamination due to rusting of pipelines which were laid a long time ago. The director of tribal welfare has initiated steps to replace the drinking water pipeline, provide a second ambulance for emergency medical service, depute a multi-specialist team from KGH, Visakhapatnam, and deploy a staff nurse at the village to observe the health of newborn children.

The tribal welfare department has also made arrangements for lactating mothers and their infant children at Birth Waiting Home in Munchingiput, to provide additional nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers, lay a drinking water pipeline to the PHC, and immediately provide safe drinking water.

In his report, the director of tribal welfare also outlined the long-term measures to be taken up in the Agency area such as setting up proper communication facilities, constructing a bridge over the rivulet between Rudakota and Patharudakota villages, and constructing residential quarters for PHC staff so that they are available in the village round-the-clock.

Subsequently, a team of doctors from King George Hospital (KGH) visited P. Rudakota village in Pedabayalu mandal, interacted with the local people and examined water and soil to ascertain the cause. During the preliminary assessment, doctors found that respiratory failure due to lack of awareness of handling newborn babies could also be one of the reasons that led to infant deaths.

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