179 children dead in 3 months: ‘Mission Lakshya 84 Days’ launched in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar

179 children dead in 3 months: ‘Mission Lakshya 84 Days’ launched in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar
179 children dead in 3 months: ‘Mission Lakshya 84 Days’ launched in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar

In a bid to grapple with rising child and maternal mortality rates, Nandurbar District’s CMO M. Sawan Kumar launched “Mission Lakshya 84 Days”. The gravity of the issue was accentuated by several Public Interest Litigations (PIL) dating back to 2007.

“Looking at the data 75 deaths in July, 86 deaths in August and 18 deaths in September till now happened in Nandurbar district,” ANI quoted Sawan Kumar as saying. “Major reasons for the deaths are low birth weight, birth asphyxia, Sepsis and respiratory diseases.

“70% of deaths are of 0-28 days age babies…Many women have sickle cell here which results in complications during delivery. To resolve all these issues we have launched mission ‘Lakshya 84 days’…” Kumar added.

To tackle the pervasive issue of malnutrition in Nandurbar district, known for having Maharashtra’s lowest Human Development Index score, the Dawoodi Bohra community earlier launched a three-year initiative. This project, as per The Indian Express, aims to provide nutritional support to over 600 underfed adolescents. Also, expectant and nursing mothers in the area will also benefit from this assistance.

In September 2022, the Bombay High Court called for the District Collector of Nandurbar to appear in person, addressing the alarming rates of child and maternal fatalities in the district allegedly from malnutrition and insufficient healthcare services.

Bandu Sane, a vocal tribal rights activist, directly informed the Bombay High Court that, since January 2022, 411 individuals had died in the district. This alarming number included 86 children. Sane attributed the high mortality rate to inadequate medical facilities and malnutrition in the area.

According to a report prepared by a study group, floating boat hospitals and ambulances are obsolete and in desperate need of an upgrade. The report aims to help the government devise effective policies for the tribal areas in the district, Livelaw reported.

The report indicated that the vast majority of conditions resulting in deaths were either preventable or could have been effectively treated. Nevertheless, the improper roll-out of health schemes in the district led to a surge in child mortality, as per the report. Additionally, the report drew attention to the inadequate healthcare services, emphasising a shortfall of medical personnel.

Chief Justice Dipankar Datta advised during that time that the hiring of medical personnel should follow a schedule similar to court staff recruitment. He told Neha Bhide, the Additional Government Pleader for the state, that it should become a yearly routine. He emphasised the importance of knowing when doctors and other staff members would retire and urged setting a fixed date for releasing advertisements and soliciting applications.

(With inputs from ANI, Livelaw and The Indian Express)

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Updated: 16 Sep 2023, 12:07 PM IST

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