Highest number of preterm deaths in the country: Govt

India has the highest number of preterm deaths, with 35 lakh babies being born prematurely out of an estimated 2.7 crore live births in the country per annum.

New Delhi: India has the highest number of preterm deaths, with 35 lakh babies being born prematurely out of an estimated 2.7 crore live births in the country per annum, the government on Friday said citing a WHO publication.

Providing this information in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay said as per the WHO publication "Born too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Births", of the 35 lakh babies born preterm a total of 3.03 lakh babies die due to complication of preterm births.

"Due to large birth cohort the number of the preterm babies is also high. The preterm birth rate in India is 13 per cent (overall range is 5 per cent to 18 per cent). India ranks 36th among 199 countries when it comes to premature births," the Minister said.

Bandyopadhyay said the government has made many interventions to reduce neonatal and child mortality rates in the country under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a flagship programme of the Health Ministry.

He also listed out some such measures including the Mother and Child Tracking System monitoring the health of pregnant mothers and newborns, Universal Immunisation Programme for ensuring vaccination of all children and Home-Based Newborn Care through ASHA workers, among others.

PTI

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