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India: Curable diseases caused 1.5 mn child deaths

Five curable diseases accounted for nearly 1.5 million child deaths in India in the year 2005, a study said.

New Delhi: Five curable diseases accounted for nearly 1.5 million child deaths in India in the year 2005, a study said on Saturday.

The study, published in an online journal, said: "Most deaths in India occur at home and without medical attention. Five avoidable causes of death, that is curable diseases, were responsible for nearly 1.5 million child deaths in the country in 2005."

The causes of deaths in children were pneumonia, diarrhoea, neo-natal or birth-related complications such as low weight, asphyxia or breathing problems, and infections.

The study was conducted by the Registrar General of India (RGI) and co-authored by the Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), and health experts from public health institutes worldwide.

Covering over 6.3 million people in the country, the study was carried on the basis of household investigations, surveys, and hospital-based registration system by the RGI.

Substantial differences in child mortality rates were also found because of gender and region.

"In children aged 1-59 months, girls in central India had a roughly five times higher mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) from pneumonia as compared to the boys in south India," the study revealed.

The authors said in a release: "Our results suggest that almost half of India`s neonatal deaths are caused by birth asphyxia and birth trauma, sepsis, pneumonia, and tetanus - most of which can be avoided by increases in delivery and postnatal care."

Expanded neonatal and obstetric care, case management of diarrhoea and pneumonia, and the addition of new vaccines to immunisation programmes could substantially reduce child deaths in India, the authors suggested in the study.

According to a report by the UN, nearly 2.35 million children died in India in 2005.


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