A Child's struggle for survival

THE RISK TO A NEW BORN INFANT'S LIFE

 

THE CHALLENGE 

 1 in 5 new born babies who die within four weeks of birth are Indian. Close to half (43 percent) of the low birth weight infants in the world are born in India.


THE MAIN CAUSES OF NEONATAL DEATHS (i.e. IN THE FIRST 28 DAYS OF LIFE) ARE:


  • Preterm births
  • Severe infection
  • Asphyxia
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Tetanus


Infant mortality refers to the number of babies who do not live to see their first birthday. The main reasons for this are lack of access to health care facilities while pregnant, inadequate care during delivery and neonatal period; maternal factors such as age, parity, and birth intervals and household and community factors (like access to clean water, sanitation and housing).

 

AREN'T ALL THESE PROBLEMS DUE TO LOW INCOMES? 

 That is not completely true.  A recent World Bank report does show a drop in infant mortality rates with the rise of  income per person. But the report notes that  the income effect is stronger on reducing fertility rates. Non-income factors like community awareness, good health infrastructure etc. play a more critical role than income in lowering the infant mortality rate.

 

Research highlights that access to a minimum package of essential services including reproductive health services, perinatal care, improved breastfeeding practices, immunization, home-based treatment of diarrhea, and timely introduction of supplementary foods can significantly reduce neonatal and infant mortality rates.


 

KIDS UNDER FIVE

 

THE CHALLENGE

  •  A child under the age of five dies every 15 sec in India, i.e. 2.1 million kids in India die each year before their fifth birthday.

  • More than half (about 55 percent) of the world’s underweight children under five are Indians.

 

MAJOR CAUSES OF UNDER-FIVE DEATHS ARE


  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • HIV/AIDS


Malnutrition is a contributing cause to more than one-third of the 9.2 million under-five deaths globally, but in India, it accounts for as high as 50% of the under-five mortality.


Complications that arise during a pregnancy do not only affect a mother’s life. In developing countries, it is estimated that the risk of death for a child under age 5 can increase up to 50 percent if the mother dies.