Officials hope to reduce child death rate by 2/3 by 2015

Kathmandu, November 13:

The Child Health Division (CHD) under Department of Health Services (DoHS) has said if all programmes go as planned then the goal of reducing child mortality by two thirds by 2015 would be achieved.

Dr Yasovardan Pradhan, director at CHD, told this daily that it has speeded up programmes with an aim to achieving one of the goals of the Millennium Development Goals related to child mortality rate and that they have been very successful.

“In 10 districts we have launched programmes such as Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). Earlier it was expanded in two or three districts only,” said Dr Pradhan.

“We are covering all the loopholes that could mar us from achieving the goal and for this the CDH is providing training to the laboratory technicians from today to perform surveillance of Haemophilus Influenza (Hib) because previous researches have indicated that Hib could be the reason for high mortality rate,” he said. In Nepal the under five-child mortality rate is 91 per 1000 births and infant mortality rate is 64 per 1000 births.

Besides, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is organising a campaign on Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in all the 22 most risky areas from next year. Earlier it was confined to Banke, Bardia, Kailali and Kanchanpur.

It is also piloting a programme on providing tetanus vaccination to mother and child in seven districts from this month.

“We are hopeful that child mortality caused due to JE could be checked to some extent after this campaign in all the vulnerable areas,” said Dr Pradhan.

Dr Sun Lal Thapa, programme manager at IMCI, said that with the expansion of IMCI the child death - caused by five major killer diseases - would go down.

The national health survey that will be conducted next year will show the exact data. “Measles and Polio have already been controlled and elimination of tetanus will be announced after a group of experts from Geneva will make a field visit to three districts- Syangjha, Solukhumbu and Banke on November 20,” said Dr Pradhan.