UP, MP, C’garh under-5 infant mortality worse than some African nations

India’s infant mortality rate has decreased to 30.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016 from 64.8 in 1990, but states such as Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have not made much progress since 1990

Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images
Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images
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NH Web Desk

India’s infant mortality rate has decreased to 30.5 deaths per 1000 live births in 2016 from 64.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, but states such as Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have not made much progress since 1990. It is still 64 deaths per 1,000 live births and 54 deaths per 1000 live births respectively, says a World Health Organisation report.

What is worse is the under-five mortality rate. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh register around 78, 65 and 64 deaths per 1,000 respectively. In fact, this is even higher than countries in Africa, which see around 52 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The statistics only reiterate the degenerating situation in Uttar Pradesh, where health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, in the aftermath of the Gorakhpur tragedy where a number of children died, stated that in August 2015, 668 deaths took place in the paediatric section of BRD Medical College. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, 17 or 18 deaths per day on an average were reported from the BRD Medical College, added the minister.

What is worse is the under-five mortality rate. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh register around 78, 65 and 64 deaths per 1,000 respectively. In fact, this is even higher than the countries in Africa which see around 52 deaths per 1,000 live births

National Family Health Survey trends of fertility rates among religious communities

According to India Spend, which analysed the National Family Health Survey, India’s infant mortality rate is highest amongst Hindus with 41.6 deaths per 1,000 live births and they have the third highest fertility rate of 2.13. Fertility rate is the average number of children a woman would have by the end of her childbearing years.

The national fertility rate is 2.2 children per woman. However, when the survey data was analysed, it was found that Muslims have the highest fertility rate (2.6) followed by others (Jews, Parsis and tribes that do not identify themselves as Hindus like Khasi, Jaintia and Garo in the North east) (2.5) and Hindus (2.1). Meanwhile, Christians (1.9), Sikhs (1.5), Jains (1.2) and Buddhists (1.7) have lower fertility rates, says the IndiaSpend report.

According to the survey, Sikhs (93.6%), Christians (84.2%), Buddhist (93.2) and Jains (93.7) have better access to healthcare facilities than Hindus, who have the third-lowest access to maternal health facilities (79.3%), including antenatal care. Muslims have the second lowest access to antenatal care (77%), while the lowest access is for ‘other religious communities’ (68.5%), even while the national average is 79.3%.

The lack of access to healthcare facilities also points to limited access to family planning methods. As can be seen in the survey, the national average for the usage of modern methods of contraception among women stands at 47.8%, but its usage among “other religious communities” is 36.5% followed by Muslims at 37.9%.

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