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State records over 900 deaths of infants and pregnant women in April-July

Shillong, Aug 28: The last five months have seen an almost single-minded effort to combat the threat of Covid-19 but the cost of that battle in terms of lives pales in comparison to one of the oldest issues facing humanity – the deaths of precious newborns and pregnant mothers.
In Meghalaya alone 877 infants and 61 pregnant women died between April and July of this year, Director of Health Services Dr Aman War informed today. To put that into context, the death toll from Covid-19 in the state till date stands at 10.
Many newborn deaths are down to pneumonia, Dr War said. Complications leading to the death of pregnant women often arise because home births are often the chosen (or only feasible) option; many women only choose the hospital route if there is an eleventh hour emergency, while great distances between health centres and the poor condition of the state’s rural road network can also prove detrimental.
“The department wants to urge pregnant women to register themselves with the nearest health facilities so that they can get help when needed,” Dr War said.
If the health authorities have data on hand they will be able to render assistance to such women if they fall sick. He also reiterated that institutional births are preferable to home deliveries.