New Delhi: More than 4,00,000 babies across South Asia die right after their birth, reveals a new study. The report also indicates that chronic malnourishment which leads to mental or physical impairment is particularly severe in the region.
The report's birth day risk index shows that of the one million babies who die each year on the day they are born, almost 40 per cent of these are in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The statistic makes the first 24 hours by far the riskiest day of a human life, not just in the region but in almost every country in the world.
Stunting amongst mothers in South Asia is one of the major factors contributing to newborn baby deaths in the region, according to the report. Mothers, who suffer from stunting, run a higher risk of complications during birth - both for themselves and their babies.
The report says India has persistently high rates of newborn mortality, and accounts for 29 per cent of all first day deaths globally - 309,000 a year. However, the report suggests while some countries are making progress, the State of the World's Mothers report shows that inequality is growing both between and within nations. If all newborns in India, for example, experienced the same survival opportunities as newborns from the richest Indian families, nearly 3,60,000 more babies would survive each year suggests the report.
According to Government of India's Sample Registration Survey (SRS 2011) Madhya Pradesh has the highest burden of early newborn deaths (0-7 days) at 32, followed closely by Uttar Pradesh and Odisha - 30. Other states with high burden are Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and J&K. Kerala is the leader in reducing neonatal mortality by a wide margin, while Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Maharashtra too have bucked the national rate.