'50 percent newborns suffer from communicable diseases'

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) About 50 percent newborn babies suffer from communicable diseases because of lack of awareness, experts said Monday.

"Due to lack of awareness among mothers and poor living conditions, at least 50 percent children in the country are born with communicable diseases," Anuradha Gupta, additional secretary and mission director of the National Health Mission, said at a conference here.

"We must strive for the survival and the overall development of the children. It is important to identify these ignorant young mothers so that surgical treatment can be provided to them when they need it," she added.

Experts on health spoke at a conference in the national capital where they deliberated over the issues of women's healthcare and infant mortality rate in India.

The event was organised by the NGO, Save the Children in collaboration with the ministry of health and family welfare (MHFW) that introduced an orientation programme for the RMNCH+A framework.

The acronym RMNCH+A stands for "Reproductive Maternal New Born Child Adolescent Health".

Under this, health organisations plan to monitor child survival strategies and prevent child deaths in India.

According to Rakesh Kumar, joint secretary of MHFW, the largest number of pregnant women are in the age group of 11 to 19 years.

"As girls become pregnant at such a young age, we see a rise in maternal mortality rate as well as in infant deaths in the country", Kumar said.

"The programme has scope if it is implemented at the grassroots level and there will be quality improvement in the health of women and children," he added.