Wednesday, July 4, 2012

UN Millennium Development Report 2012: Largest Proportion of Underweight Children Live in India

The United Nations’ Millennium Development Report 2012 was released on July 2. The report states that in 2010, one in every five maternal deaths globally happened in India which accounted for 20 per cent of the total mortality in this respect.

The report reveals that while the world has achieved targets of poverty reduction, improved drinking water supply and decreased number of urban residents in slums, it has not done well on maternal health and child nutrition goals.

India is set to miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG)-5 (on halving numbers of maternal deaths between 1990 and 2015) if it does not accelerate the pace of progress. The report flags concerns for the world with just 1,000 days left to meet the deadline of 2015.

Alarming Situation in South Asia
Gaps in these areas are alarming for South Asia, particularly for India, where 57,000 women died during pregnancy or within 42 hours of termination of pregnancy in 2010, posting a Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 212 per one lakh live births. India’s MDG target is to get the figure down to 109.

India is moving well on MMR but it would not achieve the MDG at the current pace. About 153 maternal deaths are happening in India every day. That is one every 10 minutes; and six every hour.

In 2001, India reported 91,000 maternal deaths. That is down to 57,000, indicating some progress. India has reduced maternal mortality by 38 per cent in 10 years, but it must do more. We need more auxiliary nurses and midwives and skilled birth attendants.

Women’s Condition
Globally, 2.87 lakh women died during child-birth in 2010. Fifty six per cent of these died in sub-Saharan Africa and 29 per cent in South Asia. Twenty per cent of these deaths occurred in India alone. MMR in the developing countries remains 15 times higher than in developed regions. Sub-Saharan Africa still has a high MMR of 500, Eastern Asia has a low of 37 while South Asia accounts for a figure of 220.

The report further states that the regions with high MMR are those with poor availability of skilled birth attendants.

On child health, however, considerable progress has been made. In developing countries, under five mortality rate declined by 35 per cent, from 97 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 63 in 2010. India now has an IMR of 47, down from 125 per 1,000 live births in 1992.

State of India
India has the largest proportion of underweight children. Hunger is another huge challenge though India has reduced its poverty rates from 51 to 37 per cent between 1990 and 2012. The country has 237 million people going hungry at present.

It fares poorly on all three standard indices used to measure child nutrition — stunting (height for age), wasting (weight for height) and underweight (weight for age), with 59 per cent children stunted, 42 per cent underweight and 11.4 per cent wasted.

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