New Delhi, March 3: Infant mortality is the phenomenon where India was adversely groped around. Remarkably India has recovered from the phase where infant mortality was penetrated deeply at the roots of the nation. Kerala has showed a commendable progress as it stands atop with lowest levels of infant mortality rates.
Kerala always highlighted the absence of sex discrimination, stood first with highest females as compared to males from previous years. In a recent survey conducted by National Family Health Survey-4, Kerala emerged as the safest place in India in saving newborn babies. It showed that the Infant Mortality Rate - the number of children under the age of 1 who die for every 1,000 born has been reduced to six, which is at par with the US and other developed nations on this measure. Whereas unfortunately the highest infant mortality rate was found in Madhya Pradesh was highest of all the states.
"Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4. IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade. It dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha.
"Infant Mortality Rate substantially declined over the period from 79 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-1 (1992-93) to 41 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-4," Health secretary C K Mishra said. The Health Ministry, said the proportion of women who received at least 4 antenatal care visits for their last birth has increased by 14% points from 37%to 51.2%over the decade (2005-15), while there has been a substantial increase of 20% points in seven states.
Quite a number of reasons have been given for the alarming infant mortality rates in India. Poor nutrition is one of the major causes of newborn deaths in the country considering that India is home to a third of all malnourished children in the world. Besides, 46% of the children under the age of three years are below the required weight. In fact, studies on the increasing rate of infant mortality reveal that almost 90% of all deaths of newborns result from preventable causes like pneumonia and diarrhea.
In the last NFHS carried out in 2005-06, Kerala's IMR was 15. Kerala's exceptional progress in bringing down the number of infant deaths to a single digit over the past decade is lower than that of countries like Russia (8), China (9), Sri Lanka (8) and Brazil (15).
According to a report by UNICEF, India has experienced gains towards the fight against infant mortality rates in the country over the last two decades. On the other side based on another report by Save the Children released in 2014, India has got the highest infant mortality rates in the world. The country’s record of infant deaths stands at 72 babies in every 1,000 live births. This is much higher than even some of the poorest countries in the world like Bangladesh. The report further reveals that in every year, two million children under the age of five years die. This projects the death of one newborn after every 15 seconds in the country. Health experts have pointed out that India should begin focusing on ensuring child survival on the first day of birth as the first measure.