New Delhi: Days after the government announced a decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to 34 per 1,000 live births in 2016 from 37 per 1,000 live births in 2015, scientific journal Lancet on Tuesday in a study supported it, though it said India has avoided about 1 million deaths of children under the age of five since 2005.
“India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles and tetanus,” Lancet wrote.
The “India’s Million Death Study”, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000 to 2015 among randomly selected homes.
According to the study, the conditions prioritised under the National Health Mission (NHM) had the greatest declines.
Pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality fell by over 60 per cent (most of the decline due to effective treatment), mortality from birth-related breathing and trauma during delivery fell by 66 per cent (most of the decline due to more births occurring in hospital), and measles and tetanus mortality fell by 90 per cent (mostly due to special immunization campaigns against each).
According to the study, mortality rate (per 1000 live births) fell in neonates from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015 (3.3 per cent annual decline) and 1-59 month mortality rate fell from 45.2 in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015 (5.4 per cent annual decline).
“Further, amongst 1-59 months, pneumonia fell by 63 per cent, diarrhoea fell by 66 per cent and measles fell by more than 90 per cent. These declines were greater in girls, indicating that India has, remarkably, equal numbers of girls and boys dying, a significant improvement from just a few years ago,” read the study.
Pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality rates for 1-59 months declined substantially between 2010 and 2015 at an average of 8-10 per cent annual decline nationally and more so in the rural areas and poorer states.
The Million Death Study builds on direct monitoring of the causes of death in over 1.3 million (13 lakh) homes.
The government on September 29 had announced about the steep decline in India’s IMR.
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