Chance of newborn survival: Somalia better off than India

India falls 11 places, holds 154th position in Global Burden of Disease rankings

May 19, 2017 11:38 pm | Updated May 20, 2017 02:31 pm IST - New Delhi

“What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing.”

“What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing.”

Newborns in India have a lesser chance of survival than babies born in Afghanistan and Somalia, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study published in the medical journal The Lancet .

In the GBD rankings for healthcare access and quality (HAQ), India has fallen 11 places, and now ranks 154 out of 195 countries. Further, India’s healthcare index of 44.8 is the lowest among the sub-continental countries, as Sri Lanka (72.8), Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan (52.7), and Nepal (50.8) all fared better. The top-ranked nation was Andorra with an overall score of 95 and the lowest-ranked nation was Central African Republic at 29.

India’s downward slide in the rankings indicates that it has failed to achieve health care targets, especially those concerning neonatal disorders, maternal health, tuberculosis, and rheumatic heart disease. Last year, India was ranked 143 among 188 countries.

In the case of neonatal mortality, on a scale of 1 to 100, India scored 14 in the HAQ index, while Afghanistan scored 19/100 and Somalia, 21/100. Access to tuberculosis treatment in India was scored 26 out of 100, lower than Pakistan (29), Congo (30) and Djibouti (29). For diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, and congenital heart diseases, India scored 38, 20, and 45, respectively.

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study is put together by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research centre associated with the University of Washington, along with a consortium of 2,300 researchers in more than 130 countries. The HAQ Index is based on death rates from 32 ailments that could be avoided by timely medical intervention.


‘Quality disturbing’

“What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and Director of IHME.

“Having a strong economy does not guarantee good health care. Having great medical technology doesn’t either. We know this because people are not getting the care that should be expected for diseases with established treatments,” he said.

Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who participated in the study, said, “What makes this study so important is its scope. It draws on the vast data resources assembled by the GBD team to go beyond earlier work in rich countries and cover the entire world in great detail. As the world’s governments move ahead to implement the goal of universal health coverage, to which they have committed in the Sustainable Development Goals, these data will provide a necessary baseline from which they can track progress.”

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