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Indian in Pakistan's company, fails to achieve target to reduce under-5 mortality; Nepal, B'desh are "achievers"

By Our Representative
A new United Nations (UN) report has suggested that India hasn’t yet achieved its millennium development goal (MDG) for 2015, of 42 under-five mortality (U5M) every 1,000 births. Stuck at 48 U5M down from 126 in 1990 and 91 in 2000, India is still a little away from the MDG by 6 points.
The data also suggest that the annual rate of reduction in U5M for India between 1990 and 2015 was 3.9 – higher than the world average of 3, but lower than at least three neighbours Bangladesh (5.4), Nepal (5.5) and China (6.5). Coming to “sex-specific” U5M, the report shows that in India it is down from 122 to 46 for males and from 130 to 49 for females between 1990 and 2015.
During the same period, the report says, in India, the infant mortality rate (deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births) has come down from 88 to 38, while the neo-natal mortality rate (the number of neonates dying before reaching 28 days of age, per 1,000 live births) has come down from 57 to 28.
A comparison with neighbouring countries suggests that Pakistan is even farther removed from achieving MDG – its U5M is still whopping 81 in 2015, down from 139 in 1990 and 112 in 2000. The MDG for Pakistan was fixed at 46 per 1000 for 2015.
However, as compared to Pakistan, Bangladesh has proved to be a much better performer than India, by already achieving MDG. At 38 U5M per 1000 live births in 2015, it down from 144 in 1990 and 88 in 2000. The target Bangladesh had to achieve for MDG is 48.
Nepal has similarly achieved MDG for 2015: its U5M is already 36, as against the goal of 47. As for Sri Lanka, its U5M is just 10 (as against 21), and it has also achieved the MDG goal of 7. Similarly, China has achieved the MDG of U5M by reaching 11 per 1000 live births, while the target for 2015 was 18.
The report, prepared by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimates, and titled “Level and Trends in Child Mortality, notes “major progress” in reducing child mortality throughout the world. “Encouragingly, this progress has been accelerating in recent years and has saved millions of lives of children under age five”, it says.
Yet, it regrets, despite “substantial gains”, progress is insufficient. While noting that “at the regional level, all MDG regions except Oceania have more than halved the under-five mortality rate”, the report says, only one third of countries (62) have reduced their U5M achieving the MDG.
Among the countries that have made progress include “12 low-income countries (Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Uganda, and United Republic of Tanzania), another dozen “lower-middle income countries (Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Timor-Leste and Yemen).”
India and Pakistan, significantly, do not figure in the report for making significant progress, while Nepal and Bangladesh have been mentioned. The report says, “Despite these gains, progress remains insufficient to reach MDG globally and in many regions, particularly in Caucasus and Central Asia, Oceania, Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.”
It underscores, “Accelerating progress in child survival urgently requires greater attention to ending preventable child deaths in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.One child in 12 in sub-Saharan Africa dies before his or her fifth birthday – far higher than the average ratio of 1 in 147 in high-income countries. Southern Asia has the second-highest under-five mortality rate in the world – about one child in 19 dies before age five.”

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