S Asian nations beat India on health indices

Updated: Aug 30, 2011, 13:15 PM IST

Ankita Chakrabarty/ Zee Research Group

India fares poorly in basic health indicators than its South Asian neighbors. An international comparison of India with its neighboring countries reveals that some of the countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which are economically less powerful than India, have performed better with respect to basic health indicators. India can find solace in the fact that two of its neighboring countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan - have performed poorly.

Dr Sangeeta Subudhi, consultant pediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Delhi said, “India’s population is to be blamed for the poor performance. The social reforms are not effectively implemented. It is high time that social reforms should reach every corner of India to put a check on the rise in rates of basic health indicators.”

As per the latest figures released by the government of India, the Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) (per thousands live births) of India is 34. On the other hand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China have fared better. The NMR of Bangladesh is 30. The figures of Nepal and China stand at 26 and 11, respectively.

South Asian nations beat India on health indices
However, Pakistan and Afghanistan stand at the bottom of the chart with the figures recorded as 42 and 53, respectively.

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) (per thousands live births) of India stands at 50. Countries like Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Sri Lanka have emerged as better performing countries with low infant mortality rate. The infant mortality rate of Sri Lanka is 13 and that of China is 17. However, Pakistan and Afghanistan recorded high infant mortality rates. The Infant Mortality Rate of Pakistan stands at 70 and that of Afghanistan at 134.

The Under–Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) (per thousands live births) of India is 64. Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka emerges out to be the top performer followed by China, Nepal and Bangladesh. The U5MR of Sri Lanka is 16 and that of Bangladesh is 52 respectively.

Pakistan and Afghanistan again emerge out as worst performers in Under–five Mortality Rate. The U5MR of Pakistan and Afghanistan stand at 87 and 199, respectively.

South Asian nations beat India on health indices
Ajaa, child rights programme officer, Chetanalaya (a Delhi based NGO) said, “India is a big country so it is extremely necessary to adopt strategies which are planned and the focus should be on target intervention. Countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal score better as they must have adopted right strategies to combat problems related to maternal and child health.”

As far as the malnutrition status is concerned, India again emerges out to be the worst performer. 42.5 percent children in India are underweight followed by Bangladesh (41.3 percent) and Nepal (38.8 percent).

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