Free Essay: Infant Mortality Rate in India
According to a report by UNICEF, India has experienced gains towards the fight against infant mortality rates in the country over the last two decades. However, the latest trend does not show the ability of the country in achieving the Millennium Development Goal number 4 which aims at reducing under-five mortality by two thirds in the period stretching from 1900 to 2015. Despite the progress, infant mortality rate in India is very high. It is estimated that about 400,000 newborns die within the first 24 hours of birth in India every year.
Based on another report by Save the Children released in 2014, India has got the highest infant mortality rates in the world. The country’s record of infant deaths stands at 72 babies in every 1,000 live births. This is much higher than even some of the poorest countries in the world like Bangladesh. The report further reveals that in every year, two million children under the age of five years die. This projects the death of one newborn after every 15 seconds in the country.
Quite a number of reasons have been given for the alarming infant mortality rates in India. Poor nutrition is one of the major causes of newborn deaths in the country considering that India is home to a third of all malnourished children in the world. Besides, 46% of the children under the age of three years are below the required weight. In fact, studies on the increasing rate of infant mortality reveal that almost 90% of all deaths of newborns result from preventable causes like pneumonia and diarrhea.
In the various parts of India, Delhi; the capital city has one of the highest infant mortality rates. Compared to other cities, Delhi registered approximately 30 deaths in every 1,000 births compared to 20 in Mumbai and 15 in Chennai as at 2014. In the capital city, 64% of the newborns died within the first 28 days of delivery. However, it is also important to note that between 1990 and 2012, India managed to cut down the death of children aged 5 years and below by a record 54%. This was a better show compared to the global reduction of 44.8%.
In India, the infant mortality rate varies from one state to another just as expressed using the cities above. However, there are some states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Punjab, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh that are likely to register significant improvements in the reduction of child mortality rate in the country. In fact, they are the states that have been pointed out by UNICEF to have shown signs of meeting the Millennium Development Goal- 4.
Almost 40% of neonatal deaths take place on the day that infants are born in India. In fact, the country is still facing a great challenge in postpartum care creating even more fears of an increase in the infant mortality rate in the years to come. Health experts have pointed out that India should begin focusing on ensuring child survival on the first day of birth as the first measure.
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