Dip In Infant Deaths, But Still Short of Target

Woman and child in rural India

The infant mortality rate (IMR) in India has dropped by 53 per cent over the last 25 years, according to IndiaSpend’s calculations. But the target for reducing infant mortality was 67 per cent. As per the 2015 millennium development goals, India wanted to reduce the infant mortality rate to 27 for every 1000. And the government had set its own target for reducing the IMR. As per the National Rural Health Mission that was launched in 2005, IMR should have reduced to 30 for every 1000 live births.

According to the new census data, the infant mortality rate was still 37 for every 1000 born, in 2015. The government had projected that this number would be 39 for every 1000 born, in 2015.

Though the IMR was better than the government’s projections, it still fell short of the government’s goals.

Where does India stack up with the rest of the world?

According to the World Bank, the average IMR in 2015 in North American nations was 5, and was 3 in European nations. Low and middle-income countries had an average IMR of 35.

Which states perform better, and which aren’t faring well when it comes to child mortality?

According to new census data, Goa and Manipur had the lowest rate of child mortality. Both states had 9 child deaths for every 100 born.  Kerala and Puducherry also had low infant mortality, at 12 and 11 respectively.

Madhya Pradesh had the highest rate of infant mortality, with 50 infants dying out of every 1000 born. However, IMR has reduced in this state from 2014.

States in which infant mortality is increasing are Uttarakhand, where IMR was 35 in 2015, and 34 in 2014, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Mizoram where IMR has been consistently worsening for the last 15 years.

In Mizoram, infant mortality began rising at an exponential pace in 2008, reports IndiaSpend.

Girls don’t survive as often as boys

The new data shows that there has been no reduction in the gap between the pace at which infant girls die, and the pace at which infant boys die.

While on the whole, 35 infant boys do not survive for every 1000 births, 39 female infants die per 1000 live births.

Urban vs Rural

According to the data, the infant mortality rates in urban areas were around 25 deaths per 100 live births, as compared to 41 deaths per 1000 live births in rural areas.

Literate states reported IMR that was close to richer countries and poorer states obviously had higher IMR. The statistics show the grossly unequal nature of healthcare in the country.

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