'Over 6,200 rural communities can't access health services'

Over 6,200 rural communities in India cannot access life saving-health services as they either live in remote areas or belong to a section that faces discrimination in society, experts said Tuesday.

New Delhi: Over 6,200 rural communities in India cannot access life saving-health services as they either live in remote areas or belong to a section that faces discrimination in society, experts said Tuesday.

India has made progress towards improving maternal and child mortality over the last decade. But still there are some challenges, especially about improving the survival of newborns and their mothers at the time of birth.

"There are socio-economic and geographical differences with regard to mortality of newborns. The neonatal mortality is much higher in rural areas compared to urban areas and it varies with states," said R.N. Srivastava, advisor, Indian Child Abuse Neglect and Child Labour Group.

He was speaking at 'Right to Health', a discussion forum about child health and rights, organised by World Vision India.

A recent study by the National Health System Resource Centre shows that 89 percent of all under five-year deaths happened during the first few months after birth. It said about 60 percent of such deaths occurred within the first few weeks after the birth.

People are less aware about immunisation and nutrition of the newborns in the rural areas as compared to the people in the urban areas of India, he said.

People in rural areas do not go for registration of the birth or death of their children, said Razia Ismail, convener, India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR).

According to the health ministry, Uttar Pradesh has the highest neonatal mortality rate in India with 49 deaths per 1,000 births, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Rajashthan.

"There is a need for the government to ensure universal and equitable access to good free health services," said Vijay Edward, director, World Vision India.

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