‘Two million children die in India every year’


New Delhi : Two million children die in India every year and over 60 percent of them die in the first 28 days of birth, international charity Save The Children said on the eve of World Health Day Monday.

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It highlighted that a majority of these deaths are because of diseases that are curable — diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria, measles and pre- and post-natal complications — and urged the Indian government to keep its commitment to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

“India is lagging dangerously behind its commitments. Even Bangladesh has succeeded in reducing its child mortality up to a great deal and fares better than India,” said Shireen Vakil Miller, director of advocacy and planning of Save the Children.

“This is outrageous when these deaths can be easily averted,” Miller added.

Stating some facts and figures, she said that one out of every four children in the world who die under the age of one, and one out of every three children who are malnourished, is an Indian. Almost half of the country’s children are malnourished.

Almost 65 percent of the child deaths, however, happen in just five states of India – Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.

“Over half of these deaths can be be avoided if children were better nourished, a large segment of which could be reduced if anaemia in women was tackled and immediate and exclusive breastfeeding was ensured.

“Thanks to investment by the government in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), we have the means to save millions of lives. In the run up to our elections, politicians must find the political will to make these well-meaning policies deliver effectively for children once and for all and meet the commitments made,” Miller said.