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ISRN Pediatrics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 968921, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/968921
Review Article

High Neonatal Mortality Rates in Rural India: What Options to Explore?

1Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi 110049, India
2Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry 605009, India
3Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos 23401, Nigeria
4Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India
5School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh 160012, India

Received 13 August 2012; Accepted 16 September 2012

Academic Editors: M. Adhikari, G. J. Casimir, and R. G. Faix

Copyright © 2012 Ravi Prakash Upadhyay et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The neonatal mortality rate in India is amongst the highest in the world and skewed towards rural areas. Nonavailability of trained manpower along with poor healthcare infrastructure is one of the major hurdles in ensuring quality neonatal care. We reviewed case studies and relevant literature from low and middle income countries and documented alternative strategies that have proved to be favourable in improving neonatal health. The authors reiterate the fact that recruiting and retaining trained manpower in rural areas by all means is essential to improve the quality of neonatal care services. Besides this, other strategies such as training of local rural healthcare providers and traditional midwives, promoting home-based newborn care, and creating community awareness and mobilization also hold enough potential to influence the neonatal health positively and efforts should be made to implement them on a larger scale. More research is demanded for innovations such as “m-health” and public-private partnerships as they have been shown to offer potential in terms of improving the standards of care. The above proposed strategy is likely to reduce morbidity among neonatal survivors as well.