With four lakh newborns dying annually within the first 24 hours in India and the nation being home to one in every three malnourished children in the world, it will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015.
According to the latest report of the Save the Children —‘The Next Revolution: Giving Every Child the Chance to Survive’ — India must accelerate its annual rate of reduction to almost double the present rate in order to meet the MDG commitment. The decline in under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2007 has been at the rate of 2.65 per 1,000 live births; necessitating an acceleration to 4.71 per 1,000 live births in the ensuing years if India is to meet the target.
Working on the premise that these under-five mortalities can be prevented with low-cost interventions, the Save the Children has decided to launch ‘Every one’ as a renewed effort to ensure the survival of children under-five. It is being billed as the international child rights organisation’s biggest campaign in India and in over 40 countries across the world.
India’s under-five mortality rate is higher in comparison to its neighbourhood despite the country achieving a high economic growth rate. In particular, India fares poorly compared to Bangladesh.
Quoting a UNICEF study, the report states that India’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by a staggering 82 per cent from $450 in 2000 to $820 in 2006 during which time its child mortality rate fell from 94 per 1,000 births to 76. Over the same period, Bangladesh saw a 23 per cent increase in GNI per capita from $390 to $480 but its child mortality rate dropped from 92 to 69.
Save the Children has estimated that an additional $40 billion – less than half the amount spent on bottled water each year – has to be spent annually to dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality worldwide. In India, the campaign will be launched by