India has recorded the highest number of deaths of children under the age of five in 2015, according to a latest Lancet study which also said that the country performed poorly in terms of tuberculosis and maternal survival.
The Global Burden of Disease study 2015 published in the Lancet which assesses the state of world’s health, said over a million under-five children have died in 2015.
The study said that cardiovascular diseases account for a large and increasing proportion of deaths in India.
“Most countries in the region did better than expected at reducing health loss from strokes (like India, Pakistan) and lower respiratory infections (like Bangladesh, Nepal).
“India performed much worse than expected on tuberculosis, whilst Bangladesh did poorly on drowning. All countries in the region did much worse than expected at reducing deaths in children under-5, with India recording the largest number of under-5 deaths of any country in 2015, at 1.3 million,” it said.
The study said that while Bangladesh has improved maternal survival much faster than expected, India and Nepal have fared poorly.
“In this analysis we have estimated that there were more deaths due to chronic kidney disease than in previous analysis because of improved estimates within countries with large populations such as China, India, and Russia,” it said.
The study found that although life expectancy has risen but seven out of 10 deaths now occur due to non-communicable diseases while headaches, tooth cavities and hearing and vision loss each affect more than 1 in 10 people across the world.
It said that progress has been made on reducing unsafe water and sanitation, but diet, obesity, and drug use are an increasing threat. It also said that more than 2,75,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth in 2015 across the world.
Interestingly, the study found that in 2015, self-harm was the second-leading cause of death from injury and nearly half of all self-harm deaths occurred in India and China.
It, however, said the trends in these countries have reversed, decreasing significantly in China but rising in India from 1990 to 2015.
“Over the past two decades China and India have both experienced rapid economic growth and urbanisation, and therefore the opposing trends might be explained by other factors,” it said.
The study said the number of annual deaths has increased from roughly 48 million in 1990 to almost 56 million in 2015 globally. Around 70 per cent (40 million) of global deaths in 2015 were due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs including ischaemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and drug use disorders).
In 2015, an estimated 1.2 million deaths were due to HIV/AIDS (down 33.5 per cent since 2005) and 7,30,500 were due to malaria (down 37 per cent since 2005), the study said.
Another aspect of the study said that during 2005 to 2015, western European countries such as Spain had significant reductions in total deaths which indicate that not only are there specific interventions that can work, but also that population level reductions are possible in a short period.
“A reverse trend is apparent in low-income and middle-income countries, partly because the growth in motorisation and traffic density is outpacing the reductions associated with infrastructural development and levels of law enforcement.
“This trend is particularly the case for major fast-growing BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa),” it said.