Even though infant deaths in India continue to remain the highest in the world, the numbers are lowest in five years.
In a good news, India’s infant mortality rate dropped to 32 for every 1,000 live births in 2017 from 34 in 2016, according to a report by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME). In absolute numbers, this translates to 8,02,000 infant deaths in 2017 compared to 8,67,000 infant deaths in 2016. However, infant deaths in India continue to remain the highest in the world. “India continues to show impressive decline in child deaths, with its share of global under-five deaths for the first time equalling its share of childbirths,” Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative, UNICEF India, said.
The major reasons behind these deaths were lack of access to water, sanitation, proper nutrition and basic health services, the report said. The Modi government is currently working on various programmes on santionation, health and nutrition. In his recent Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had referred to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which had praised government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ saying India could avert three lakh deaths provided there is 100 percent implementation of the cleanliness drive by October 2019.
“We have made remarkable progress to save children since 1990, but millions are still dying because of who they are and where they are born. With simple solutions like medicines, clean water, electricity and vaccines, we can change that reality for every child,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy said.
In the year 2016, India’s infant mortality rate was 44 per 1,000 live births. India reported the highest number of infant deaths followed by Nigeria at 4,66,000, Pakistan 3,30,000 and Democratic Republic of Congo 2,33,000 (DRC), the report said.