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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Malkangiri: In the past five and a half years, as many as 4,886 infants and children under the age of five have died in the district of Malkangiri, flagging concerns over the efficacy and reach of the healthcare service delivery of the State government.

Data sourced from the response to a RTI query have revealed such a grim reality. As per the data, 70,184 babies were born between 2014-15 and September 2019-20 in Malkangiri district, out of which 3,802 infants under 1 year and 1,084 children under 5 years of age died.

The RTI report stated that almost all the state government schemes like Janani Surakhya Yojana, Janani Sishu Surakhya Karyakram, training of medical and para-medical staff and Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers are being implemented in the district. In addition to that funds over Rs 2 crore have been spent under these schemes.

Arati Madhi, a woman from Potrel village in the district who lost her baby said, “I don’t know what happened, but my newborn daughter died just two months after her birth.”

A concerned local, Nrusingha Madhi said, “All these schemes are implemented only in papers. Unless it reaches the real beneficiaries, child deaths will continue to happen.”

However, the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Malkangiri, Ajay Kumar Baitharu said, “The infant mortality rate is gradually decreasing every year. We will work towards bringing it further down.”

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