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Jan 23, 2008 at 04:02pm IST

Child mortality rate highest in India: UNICEF

New Delhi: A recently released annual report by the UNICEF says that of a nearly 10 million children dying below the age of five every year, 2.1 million are Indians.

And the real shock lies in the fact that all these lives could be saved with better child care facilities.

"If India wants to realise its intellectual capabilities, it needs to work on this area much strongly,” says representative, UNICEF India, Dr Gianni Murzi.

Although child mortality rates have come down significantly in the last 15 years, two indicators have set alarm bells ringing; first, a very high count of the neo-natal deaths.

But the worrying factor has really been malnutrition in India. Fifty per cent of the total under-five mortality is ascribed to malnutrition.

And there has not been any significant change in the nutritional values for children in India in the last two years.

"Social changes do not happen overnight, its not like building bridges,” says Joint Secretary, WCD, Dr Lavleen Kakkar.

The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has been running for the last 30 years, but now it seems changes to the government's flagship programme for mother and child care care could do with a few changes.

There is a proposal which is already pending with the government for almost two years.

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