7 lakh new­born deaths in In­dia in 2015

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - PM Naren­dra Modi and FM Arun Jait­ley in Par­lia­ment. San­chita Sharma san­chi­tasharma@hin­dus­tan­times.com

In­dia was home to 700,000 of the one mil­lion ba­bies who died within 28 days of birth in South Asia in 2015, ac­cord­ing to a Unicef re­port re­leased in Kath­mandu on Wed­nes­day.

In­dia con­sis­tently ranked a low sixth in new­born-care ser­vices among the eight coun­tries in the re­gion, in­clud­ing Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mal­dives. Only Pak­istan and Afghanistan ranked lower.

In­dia ac­counts for 26% of new­born deaths in the world.

“The to­tal num­ber of deaths are high­est in In­dia be­cause of its large young pop­u­la­tion and cor­re­spond­ing high num­ber of births, but the high new­born mor­tal­ity rate is an in­di­ca­tor of where In­dia sits in the re­gion, and the rank­ing needs to be a lot higher,” said Dou­glas Noble, Unicef re­gional health ad­viser for South Asia, speak­ing to HT from Nepal.

New­born mor­tal­ity rates (NMR), de­fined as deaths per 1,000 live births, in In­dia are the third high­est at 28. Pak­istan’s NMR is the high­est at 46 fol­lowed by Afghanistan at 36, which are un­ac­cept­ably high com­pared to the best-per­form­ing Mal­dives and Sri Lanka, where 5 new­born deaths hap­pen per 1,000 live births.

The Unicef’s South Asia Health At­las 2016 praised Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan for mak­ing re­mark­able progress in rou­tine im­mu­niza­tion given their pub­lic health chal­lenges. It said Pak­istan, Afghanistan and In­dia need to see very sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in the next few years to be­ing down new­born death rates. Giv­ing each child three doses of the DTP vac­cine against diph­the­ria, per­tus­sis and tetanus is the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ac­cepted in­di­ca­tor for rou­tine im­mu­ni­sa­tion cov­er­age. In In­dia, DPT3 cov­er­age is 87% against Bhutan’s 99% and Bangladesh’s 94%.

PTI/TV GRAB

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