New Delhi: Despite having improved infant and mother mortality rates, more than three children of under five years of age died every minute in India during 2011, a latest Unicef report has said.
With the highest number of 16.55 lakh deaths of under-five children reported in 2011, India topped the list of nations across the world.
The `Child Mortality Estimates Report 2012` released by Unicef in New York has said that there have been a total of 69 lakh under-five deaths across the world in 2011, which has decreased from nearly 12 million in 1990.
"About 14,000 fewer children die each day than did two decades ago. Still, almost 19,000 children under five die every day," the report stated, adding that almost 40 per cent of these children died in the first month of life, mostly from preventable diseases.
According to figures in the Unicef report, as many as 4,534 under-five children died every day and 189 every hour in India, accounting for almost 24 per cent of the world figures.
The global under-five mortality rate has fallen from 87 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 51 per 1,000 live births in 2011, the report said.
Reacting on the high number of under-5 children deaths, WHO`s India Representative Nata Menabde said, "India always had in absolute term high numbers.... We still have a challenge ...It is a problem."
Going by the progress made by India in reducing the child and mother mortality rates, she said, "India is moving steadily towards achieving the MDS targets. India will probably reach or come closer to them provided the current rate is sustained."