Mortality rate in India: Under-five child deaths stand at par global average but girls still face discrimination

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In a major boost to mortality rate in India, the child deaths have come down and stand same as global average, according to a report by UNICEF, WHO, UN Population Division and the World Bank Group. The under-five mortality of boy reduced to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births. The under-five mortality of the girl child is 40 deaths per 1,000 live births. The gender-gap has remained but the under-five mortality of the girl child is 2.5 per cent higher (40 deaths per 1,000 live births). In 2012 the gender discrimination gap was at 10 per cent. Still the numbers are high if we compare to Intentional standards which saw a girl child survival rates are 11 per cent higher than boys. As per the government data there is a 60:40 ratio of boys and girls admitted in sick newborn care units across the country, the IE report. The efforts for improving institutional delivery, along with countrywide scale-up of special newborn care units and strengthening of routine immunisation, have been instrumental towards this. Even more heartening is the fourfold decline in the gender gap in survival of the girl child over the last five years. The investment on ensuring holistic nutrition under POSHAN Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission), and the national commitment to make India open defecation free by 2019, are steps that will help accelerate progress further, In 2016, Indias infant mortality rate was 44 per 1,000 live births. The report released by the UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group said 6,05,000 neonatal deaths were reported in India in 2017, while the number of deaths among children aged 5 Dr Gagan Gupta, Chief of Health at the World Health Organization, said India is making good progress in combatting reasons leading to infant deaths through a number of government-led initiatives. This is also the first time that the number of deaths under five is equal to number of births. The next step would be reducing the number of deaths, Gupta said.