In India, over 2.1 million children die annually before reaching their fifth birthday, 50 % of them even not surviving 28 days. Globally, the number stands at 9.7 millions annually. The statistics are equally shocking among neonates ( newborns to a maximum age of 28 days old). While around four million children die within the first 28 days of life across the planet every year, India records around one million of theses cases.
Of the 19 million infants in the developing world who have low birth weight ( less than 2500 grams), 8,3 million are in India. This means that approximately 43 % of all the world’s infants who are born with a low birth rate are born in India.
Malnutrition continues to affect newborns and young children and has been found to be the underlying cause of up to 50 % of under five deaths. About 55 millions or one-third of the world’s underweight children under five years old, live in India. These are the findings of a UNICEF report that places India on number one spot in children’s deaths across the world, one child dying every three seconds.
India is witnessing a paradoxical moment. While the country is experiencing record growth rates and unprecedented wealth, it is faced with an incomparable child survival challenge. India accounts for over 20 % of under five children’s deaths.
Experts said that in 2006, for the first time in history, the number of annual child deaths worldwide declined to below the 10 million mark. The global under five mortality figure, however, remains over 26.000 deaths a day.
According to the report, simple and affordable life-saving measures, such as immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, insecticide-treated bed nets, integrated management of neonatal and child illnesses and vitamin A supplementation, can greatly reduce child deaths.