year, lack of political will and funding for crisis kills over three lakh
infants within a day (24 hours) of being born in India, says a recently
released report State of the World’s
crux of this 14th annual report by Save the Children is that there is nothing
that is not avertable, as the main reasons for deaths in the majority of cases are infections
and other preventable factors.
disturbing numbers in the report say that 29 per cent of the newborn deaths worldwide
happen only in India. The report,
published after a survey of 186 countries, says that South Asia (with 24 per cent
of the world’s population) records 40 per cent of the world’s first-day deaths.
has been made, but more than 1,000 babies die every day on their first day of
life from preventable causes throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,’
said Mike Novell, the regional director, Save the Children.
The organization identified three major
causes of newborn deaths – complications during birth, prematurity and
infections – and said access to low-cost life-saving interventions could cut
down the figures by as much as 75 per cent. ‘What is lacking is the political
will and funding to deliver these solutions to all the mothers and babies who
need them,’ read the statement by the charity.
Although spending on poor and rural communities
has seen a substantial rise in the last decade through various developmental
schemes, most such programmes have not benefited those who need them the most.
As a result, more than half of all Indian women give birth without the help of
skilled health professionals, leading to infections and complications. In remote
areas of the country, doctors and hospitals are rare, so the health of children in those
areas is in the hands of poorly trained substitutes.
In a Times
of India news published today, Sharmila Lal, a Delhi-based gynaecologist,
claimed that even in cities such as New Delhi, which has relatively better
healthcare facilities, women are delivering at home. Despite hospitals being near
at hand, the women are having babies at home in a highly unsafe and unhygienic
environment primarily because of lack of awareness, said Lal.
per Save the Children, infant mortality can be addressed by closing the equity
gap in a developing country like India where economic benefits have been shared
unequally. ‘If all newborns in India experienced the same survival rates as
newborns from the richest Indian families, nearly 360,000 more babies would
survive each year,’ the report said.
The full report and executive summary of
the report is available here: State of the World’s Mothers May 2013