Kerala government on Tuesday said lack of effective implementation of health packages by officials concerned and malnutrition of pregnant women were the major causes of frequent infant deaths in Attappady, one of the largest tribal settlements in the state.
State Health Minister V S Shivakumar told the Assembly during Question Hour that though frequent child deaths in the region was still a major cause of worry but with government’s active intervention it could reduce the number of deaths to 13 in 2014 from 39 in the previous year.
The number of ‘severely acute malnourished’ (SAM) children could also be reduced to 68 from 299 in the period, he said.
“The state government has initiated several steps to reduce child deaths in Attappady. The health department implemented a special health package for which Rs. 4.33 crore had been sanctioned. Nine other schemes are also under various stages of implementation,” Shivakumar said.
Intervening, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said sanctioning of funds and drawing up of new schemes were not enough to check the frequent child deaths in the region.
The lack of officials having service mentality and proper implementation of welfare packages also contributed to the backwardness of the tribal area, Chandy said, adding, that more tribal hostels would be set up and facilities of existing hostels would be upgraded as part of the scheme.
The House also witnessed heated arguments between ruling and opposition members on an alleged report sent by the state to the Centre stating that the deaths of tribal children in Attappady was not due to malnutrition.