India’s girl child survival rate up by four fold

UNICEF reports that for the first time India's girl child mortality is at its lowest


November 15, 2018

/ By / Kolkata

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India's girl children have a better natality rate than ever

India’s girl children have a better natality rate than ever

UNICEF reports says that for the first time in five years, India’s girl child mortality has shrunk down four fold.

A recent project by UNICEF undertook the responsibility of calculating the full stock of Indian children’s over a period of five years. When compared to the data that UNICEF has collected from similar developing nations, it revealed a noteworthy decline in child mortality rates along with a shrinking gender gap in surviving girl children since 2013.

The study put forth that India’s share of worldwide under-five deaths has been equal to its share of childbirths for the very first time. Consequently, the country registered the lowest number of infant deaths in five years.

The logs of the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME) estimate that 2016 saw around 867,000 infant deaths being reported, due to avoidable causes such as complications during birth, neonatal sepsis, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. The number of deaths (of children below 14) stood at 802,000 in 2017, of which 605,000 were neonatal deaths.

Another perceptible aspect of the steady decline is the fact that in 2016, the infant mortality rate was 44 per 1,000 live births. In 2017, the under-five mortality rates were 39 and 40 (out of 1,000) for male and female children respectively. This fourfold decrease in gender gap has been a historic highlight in the endeavours to curb female infanticide and improve childcare for lower economic households.

Yasmin Ali Haque, representative, UNICEF India said, “The efforts for improving institutional delivery, along with countrywide scale up of special newborn care units and strengthening of routine immunization, have been instrumental towards this.”

Save the children

While acknowledging the government’s holistic nutrition programme under the Poshan (Nutrition) campaign and the commitment to remove open defecation by 2019, Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, commented, “Without urgent action, 56 million children under five will die from now until 2030 – half of them newborns.”

Around the world, millions of infants and children are dying year after year from inadequate access to water, sanitation, healthy nutrition and basic healthcare. Over half of the world’s neonatal deaths in 2017 were reported in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Compared to the UN statistic that only one in 185 children die in developed countries, that ratio becomes one in 13 for some African nations.

Nono Simelela, assistant director-general for Family, Women and Children’s Health at WHO said, “We must prioritize providing universal access to quality health services for every child, particularly around the time of birth and through the early years, to give them the best possible chance to survive and thrive.”

“Ending preventable deaths and investing in the health of young people is a basic foundation for building countries’ human capital, which will drive their future growth and prosperity,” the UNESCO report reads, further noting the role played by regional and economic disparities, the difference in case of educated mothers, and how the first month is the most critical period for an infant.

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