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UNICEF report out, India still tops the list for high under-5 mortality rates

Posted:  Monday, September 14, 2015

The latest UNICEF report crowned India as the leading country for high under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) with a figure 7 times higher than the average of all countries in contention.

Earlier, a World Health Organization (WHO) report named pneumonia and diarrhoea as leading causes claiming children’s lives. In another setback, India did not meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) target of reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds over the period of 25 years.

East Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America were among the regions achieving their MDG4 targets. Although the global U5MR has gone down, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa still recorded high numbers.

However, to India’s credit, the U5MR has dropped to 48 in 1000 live births in 2015 from 126 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990. A 62% reduction in under-5 mortality rate is worth cheering over considering the country’s huge population.

Neonatal deaths account for 58% under-5 deaths in India. Although there are programmes to address this, further efforts were made by introducing the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) in 2014. The INAP was conceptualised with the aim to reduce the rate of neonatal and stillborn mortality.

According to health experts, although the Government of India has rolled out many schemes to bring down the mortality numbers, some more work is needed. For an overall reduction in child mortality rates, better vaccines, better primary healthcare facilities, improved nutrition, and excellent post-natal care are needed chorus experts.

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