5000 children under 5 die in India everyday: UNICEF
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2009, 00:31
  
New York: Despite an improvement in child mortality figures, 5,000 children under the age of five die in India everyday due to preventable causes, according to a latest UNICEF report.

Within the under five mortality rate, the maximum 96 per cent of children who die belong to the Scheduled Tribes, 88 per cent to Scheduled Castes and 59 to general population.

"It is early marriage and inadequate health care of women which adversely affects the survival of their children," said Karen Hulshoff, Country Representative of UNICEF in India said.

The report says malnutrition rates in India continue to be very high. Though the percentage of malnourished children below the age of three has decreased from 52 per cent to 46 per cent, it is still way below the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Forty seven per cent of women had deliveries with skilled health provider, it said.

A majority 56 per cent women use contraceptives. Condom use was high at 61 per cent for women and 52 per cent for men, it said.

Knowledge about HIV/AIDS has also increased. While 34 per cent of men are aware of AIDS, in women the corresponding figure was 24 per cent.

Between 1990 and 2006, the use of improved sanitation in India has doubled. Reaching the MDG target remains a great challenge and requires accelerated efforts to outpace population growth, Hulshoff said.

The report "State of the World's Children", says that the mother's level of education is one of the key factors in reducing child mortality.

As far as under-five mortality rate was concerned, 95 per cent of the dead children were born to mothers who had no education.

The child mortality rate decreased from 80 per cent to 53 per cent in 2008. The target to achieve the MDG was 40 per cent.

School attendance rates are still dropping at secondary education levels, specially among girls.

The school attendance rates were high in the age group of 6-10 years at 85 per cent for boys and 81 per cent for girls.

While the school attendance rate for the general population is high at 84 per cent, it is 74 per cent for Scheduled Castes and 68 per cent for Scheduled tribes.

Birth registration in India improved significantly from 58 per cent in 2001 to 69 per cent in 2008.

There has also been a decline in the incidence of child marriage in India over the years. The proportion of women marrying before reaching the age of 18 in India though is still very high.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, November 21, 2009, 00:31


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