Monday, 14 July 2008

Bhutan : Mother-child mortality rates in steady decline

14 July, 2008 - Common cold, skin infections, diarrhoea and skin disorders were the main cause of health problems for children under five years old in Bhutan, according to the annual health bulletin 2008.

Last year 54,781 cases of common cold, 22,472 cases of diarrhoea, and 23,817 cases of skin infections were recorded across the country.

Of the 13,851 children born last year, 61 were stillbirths and foetal death, followed by 98 neonatal deaths. Ten children were born with STD.

A total of 20,4138 under-five children sought health care for injuries and trauma such as burns, poisoning, transport accidents, bites and stings among others, according to the bulletin.

Records also show that infant mortality rate fell from 203 per 1,000 live births in 1994 to 40 in 2006. Maternal mortality rate fell from 380 per 100,000 live births in 1994 to about 255 in 2006.

Presiding over the launching of the UNICEF State of the World’s Children (SoWC) 2008 and the health ministry’s Mother and Child Handbook (MCH) on July 9, the health minister, Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa, said that Bhutan has made commendable progress in the social sectors, particularly in the reduction of child mortality and improvement in maternal health.

The shortage of medical professionals, expensive curative cares and emergence of non-communicable diseases were some of the major challenges, said the health minister.

Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa said that 24 percent of the financial resource allocation was for the social sector in the 10th five year plan. “We’re committed to providing a minimum of three doctors, including a gynecologist to each of the district hospitals and a minimum of two ambulances.”

The health secretary, Dasho (Dr) Gado Tshering, said that, while the state of children’s health, over the years, had improved, the state of care they were receiving was not to the optimum. “The number of street children and their being in conflict with law seems to be increasing, which is an indicator that we have to do something more,” said the secretary.

Worldwide, around 26,000 children die every day before their fifth birthday from preventable and curable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and measles. These diseases are mainly caused by malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, according to SoWC report 2008.

The SoWC 2008 launched in Geneva early this year focusses on child survival, examining the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, infants and children.

No comments: