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
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
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,
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
The child mortality rate decreased from 80 per cent to 53
per cent in 2008. The target to achieve the MDG was 40 per
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.
First Published: Saturday, November 21, 2009, 00:31