India averted 10 lakh child deaths since 2005

NEW DELHI:India has prevented 10 lakh deaths of children under age five since 2005 by reducing mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, tetanus and measles.

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 20

India has prevented 10 lakh deaths of children under age five since 2005 by reducing mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, tetanus and measles.

Had the rate of child death reduction stagnated at 2000 to 2005 levels, India would have seen 30 million under-five child deaths between 2005 and 2015. It actually saw 29 million, says a new study published in The Lancet today and 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.

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.

“Girl deaths among 1 to 59 month olds fell particularly fast with an equal number of under-five boy and girl deaths now,” Jha said. The study is part of Registrar General of India’s Million Death Study (MDS) in which health workers physically visited 1.3 million homes over the past decade to ask parents what caused their child’s death.

The research showed the child mortality reduced as neonatal infections fell by 66%; birth asphyxia fell by 76%, tetanus fell by over 90%.

“Among children aged 1 to 59 months, largest reduction in mortality came as pneumonia fell by 63%, diarrhea by 66% and measles by 90%,” Dr Kumar said. Despite gains, one in five global child deaths still happens in India which contributes 22% of the world’s 6.3 million annual under-five deaths.

“India will achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals on child health only if it maintains current declines in 1-59 month mortality and accelerates declines in neonatal mortality to over 5% as against 3.3% annually. Low birth weight and malaria deaths need to be urgently addressed,” Jha said.

SDGs urge nations to reduce infant mortality to at least 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030. India’s infant mortality rate is 39 deaths and under five mortality rate is 43.


UN health goals achieved: Nadda

  • Presenting the annual National Health Mission report card to the Cabinet, Health Minister JP Nadda on Wednesday said India had achieved Millennium Development Goals on infant mortality, under five-mortality and maternal mortality 
  • “Our total fertility rate is 2.2. It will be reduced to 2.1 by 2017 end. We have also achieved MDG 6 by reversing the epidemic of malaria, TB and HIV epidemic,” the Health Minister said

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