ibnlive » India

Apr 24, 2008 at 03:44pm IST

Infant mortality high in India: Unicef

New Delhi: One out of every four children in the world, who die under the age of one, is an Indian. These are the latest 2008 Unicef figures.

The Unicef’s latest figures released last week state that infant mortality rate in the country is 57 per thousand live births.

When compared to the provisional data of the national census for 2001 it is clear that there has been no improvement in the last seven years.

This after the Government has spent 20-23 thousand crore in total on the National Rural Health Mission.

Unicef Chief of Health Marzio Babille said, “Numbers in India contribute to more than 25 per cent of child mortality in the world. And obviously still we know that one hundred and forty thousand women lose their lives per year contributing to an extraordinary proportion, may be more than one fourth of maternal mortality in the world.”

According to the report, infant mortality in the country stands at a very high 57 per thousand live births and neo natal mortality at 43 per thousand live births. One of the main reasons for high infant mortality is malnutrition.

According to the report 46 per cent of the children under the age of five are malnourished. The report also states that 53 per cent women give birth in the absence of skilled health personnel.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Joint Secretary Amarjeet Sinha said, “Ultimately sustainable well being will only come if we provide opportunities for developing human capabilities to the fullest. We see the national rural health mission as contributing to the process. It will take some time but we are hopeful.”

The problem states that account for more than 65 per cent of infant and neo-natal mortality are Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa. Most of these states come under what used to called bimaru states.

Unicef says that the problem of malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality can be solved if it is addressed at the ground level in villages and districts. But to make this possible the ministries of health and woman and child need to collaborate in a joint plan.

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