An international study published in The Lancet, authored by Dr Prabhat Jha, Head, Centre for Global Health Research of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and Dr Rajesh Kumar of PGI, Chandigarh reveals that since 2005, India has averted nearly one million deaths of children under five years of age.
The improvement is attributed to a significant decrease in deaths from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, tetanus and measles.
The study shows that neonatal (first 28 days of birth) mortality rate (deaths of children per 1,000 lives) in India fell from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015. Mortality in 1 to 59-month-olds fell from 45.2 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015, a report in The Tribune said.
There have been several factors instrumental in bringing about this shift. Improved rates of female literacy, schemes that encourage women to give birth in hospitals, and increased spending on public health by the Indian government have all been significant factors in contributing to the falling death rates.
Worldwide, more than six million children die before their fifth birthday each year, according to the United Nations. Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of five as those from wealthier families.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals seek to end the preventable deaths of newborns and children under five, with countries aiming to reduce infant mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030.
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