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Madhya Pradesh Shows Indifferent Attitude Towards Infant Mortality

Despite alarming infant and maternal mortality rates in the state, Madhya Pradesh legislators seems to be totally unconcerned about it, according to a study conducted by a voluntary group//.

The state, one of the largest in the country, has an infant mortality rate of 83 per 1,000 childbirths while the maternal mortality rate stands at 498 per 100,000 live births.

"Despite Madhya Pradesh having the second highest rate of infant and maternal mortality in the country, dying women and children are not a priority for the members of the assembly," says the study conducted by the Centre for Advocacy, a voluntary group.

The study says that even women lawmakers were not raising the issue effectively. The study notes that of the 1,483 questions taken up for discussion in the Madhya Pradesh assembly in 2005, not a single question was asked on the issue of maternal mortality or women's health.

Only 10 questions concerned women and children, and these too were about the government's free mid-day meal scheme for schoolchildren.

R.K. Sharma of the Centre for Advocacy said that of the 5,348 questions asked in an earlier budget session, only 51 related to women and children.

"In the just concluded budget session too merely half a dozen questions on the issue were asked without any concrete follow-up," he added.

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