Guwahati: The constant high rate of infant mortality rate (IMR) in the state has been a major worry for the health department with Assam’s IMR continued to be above the national average.
As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) Bulletin of Registrar General of India (RGI), while 30 deaths per 1,000 live births were recorded in 2019 at the national level, Assam’s IMR was recorded at 40 deaths per 1000.
In fact, Assam had the third highest IMR in the country. Madhya Pradesh had the highest IMR in the country, with 46 deaths per 1000 live births, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 41 IMR.
In 2018 also Assam recorded the third highest Infant Mortality Rate in India with 41 per 1000 live births and in 2017 registered the second highest IMR with 44/1000 live births.
To reduce the IMR in the state, the state’s health department has developed new ideas by implementing certain pilot projects.
Recently, the Assam government has decided to utilise the air pressure machine developed by a Bangalore-based start-up across its hospitals as a result of the success of a pilot study to reduce infant mortality with a specific piece of equipment called ‘SAANS’.
‘SAANS’ is a portable neonatal Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) system that can provide lifesaving breathing support to infants in hospital settings as well as during travel.
According to a senior official of the start-up InnAccel Technologies, the device produced “great results” when it was tested on a small number of infants at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
“In response to this, more than 50 SAANS devices have now been installed across Assam’s medical colleges, with additional installations at district hospitals underway”, the official added.
At least 307 units of SAANS were aimed to be deployed in the state.
As per sources, to increase respiratory assistance for newborns and pediatric populations in Assam, InnAccel Technologies, incubated at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), collaborated with the SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Finance Facility on the development of the device.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports Sustainable Access to Market and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare (SAMRIDH), a multi-stakeholder innovation and funding platform that is run by IPE Global.
Earlier, National Health Mission (NHM) Assam Mission Director M S Lakshmipriya said, “We are sure that SAANS will ensure that all neonates in Assam receive universal breathing support, giving them the essential breath they so desperately need to survive.”
Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) is the cause for over 1.5 lakh deaths among newborns annually in India with one-third of deaths occurring during transport to hospitals with CPAP capabilities.
Last month, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma flagged off 83 Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances under the Mrityunjoy 108 services.
Sarma said, “These ambulances will be beneficial for patients in rural and urban areas of Assam and aid in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in the state.”