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Progress for Children Report - A Statistical Review December 2007

• In 2006, for the first time, the number of children in the world dying before their fifth birthday fell below 10 million, to 9.7 million. South Asia contributed to 3.1 million of under five deaths and India, 2.1 million. India therefore contributes to about 21 per cent of the global burden of child deaths.

• The under five mortality rate (U5MR) for India in 2006 has been estimated as 76. Although India has made progress in the reduction of child mortality, the average annual rate of reduction in U5 mortality between 1990 and 2006 has been 2.6 per cent. If India is to reach the MDG Goal of 38 by 2015, the average annual rate of reduction in the next nine years has to be about 7.6 per cent.

• Worldwide 37 per cent of under-five deaths are attributed to neo-natal causes. About 75 per cent of under five deaths in India are infant deaths and about half of U5 children die within four weeks of their birth.

• Each year, around 4 million children die within the first 28 days of life – the newborn (neo-natal) period. In India, this number is estimated to be about one million, which means a quarter of all neo-natal deaths in the world occur in India. One of the cost effective and feasible interventions to improve the situation includes initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth. About 38 per cent of children in the developing countries are initiated to breastfeeding within one hour of birth. In India 23 per cent of children are initiated with breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

• 19 million infants in the developing world have low birth weight (less than 2500 grams). 8.3 million are in India. 

• Malnutrition is the underlying cause in up to 50 per cent under-five deaths. About 25 per cent of children under age five in the world are underweight. In India the underweight prevalence rate is 43 per cent. Average annual rate of decline since 1990 has been 0.9 per cent – accelerated progress is neeed to meet the MDG target .

• About one-third of underweight children under age five in the world live in India. The states with the highest number of children underweight are Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, followed by Gujarat, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya.
• Proper infant feeding practices are key to child survival. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has the potential to avert 13 per cent of all under-five deaths in developing countries. Timely and appropriate complementary feeding could avert a further six per cent of under-five deaths. In India 46 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed vs. 38 per cent in the developing world and 45 per cent in South Asia. The percentage of children age 6-9 months in the developing world who are given complementary food is 56 per cent - the corresponding figure for India is 57 per cent.

• Wasting is a strong predictor of U5 mortality. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and / or disease. There are 24 developing countries with wasting rates of 10 per cent or more. The prevalence of wasting in India is about 20 per cent, requiring urgent response.
• India has the largest pool of never immunized children in the world – 9.4 million. Of the 26 million children not immunized with DPT 3 globally, 11.5 million live in India.

• Measles is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable child mortality. There has been remarkable progress in measles immunization worldwide particularly in developing countries. The WFFC target for reducing 50 per cent mortality has been achieved. In India, there is an improvement in measles immunization coverage - however it is still below 60 per cent.

• Pneumonia kills more children than any other illness – more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Around 2 million children under five die from the disease every year – around one in every five children globally. India has the largest number of pneumonia deaths. About 69 percent of children with suspected pneumonia are taken to a health facility and 13 percent are treated with antibiotics.

• Globally diarrhoea is the second largest killer and accounts for approximately 2 million deaths among children under five. In 2005-06 in India, 39 percent of children suffering from diarrhoea received ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy).

• While a number of middle-income countries have made progress in reducing maternal mortality deaths, less progress has been achieved in Sub-Saharan Africa. Out of the 500,000 maternal deaths in the developing world, approximately 23 per cent are in India. The global Maternal Mortality Ratio (2005) is estimated at 400 per 100,000 live births. India’s ratio in 2005 is estimated to be 450 (adjusted UN estimate) and is classified in ‘High’ category. Hemorrhage accounts for about 38 per cent of total maternal deaths in India.

• Skilled attendance at delivery is critical to reducing maternal deaths. About 60 per cent of births in the developing world are attended by skilled health personnel. In India, the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel stood at 47 per cent. Progress has been incremental from 42 per cent (1998/99).

• Safe drinking water is essential for child survival. Globally the world is on track to meet the MDG on safe drinking water. India too is on track with 84.5 percent rural and 95 percent urban populations having sustainable access to safe drinking water.

• Worldwide, the lack of sanitation, poor hygiene and unsafe drinking water contribute to more than 1.5 million child deaths each year from diarrhoeal diseases. In 2004, 2.4 billion persons globally did not use sanitation facilities. Between 1990 and 2004, South Asia and India more than doubled their coverage in improved sanitation. Yet in 2004, an estimated 700 million people in India were not using improved sanitation facilities. The NFHS 3 data (2005-06) reveals that 45 percent of households in the country use improved sanitation facilities.

• Globally, 33.2 million people (2.4 million children) are living with HIV. The number of people living with HIV /AIDS in India is estimated to be 2-3.1 million. An estimated 70 thousand children below age 15 are infected with HIV. An estimated 21 thousand children are infected each year through mother to child transmission.

• In India, 23.8 percent women and 32.6 percent men displayed comprehensive knowledge about HIV / AIDS. Approximately 61 percent of men & women used condoms during high risk sexual activity.

• Globally the number of children out of school has declined significantly – from 115 million in 2002 to 93 million in 2005-06. Considering that 6-10 is the primary school age in India, 84 per cent of children are attending school.

• Globally the gender parity index of 1.0 for primary school attendance ratio is likely to be achieved. India is on track to achieve parity in primary education - for 100 boys in primary school, there are 96 girls in school. However parity in secondary education is still a challenge - for 100 boys in secondary school, there are only 80 girls in school.

• Around 51 million children born in 2006 have not been registered, of which about 9 million are in India. 27 percent of children under five years have a birth certificate in India.

• Globally 158 million children age 5-14 are engaged in labour. India accounts for 18 percent of the world’s burden which is approximately 29 million.

• Worldwide more than 60 million women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18.  In India in 2005-06 an estimated 22 million women aged 20-24 years reported they were married before the age of 18.

• India’s progress is key to achieving the MDGs. India’s share in the global challenge:
U5 child population   20 per cent
U5 child deaths    21 per cent
Underweight children  35 per cent
Maternal deaths   23 percent
Population not using
improved sanitation  27 percent 





Progress for Children Report December 2007

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection