Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
• The MDG goal is to reduce the infant mortality rate (IMR) and under-five mortality (U5MR) by two-thirds by 2015.
• At the present time, India is off-track to achieving the IMR as well as the U5MR targets.
• The IMR for India was estimated to be 58/1,000 live births in 2006*, though this masks disparities between rural and urban areas (64 and 40, respectively); between boys and girls (56 and 61, respectively); and states (ranging from 76 in Madhya Pradesh to 14 in Kerala).
• Malnutrition is directly or indirectly associated with more than half of all young child mortality. Studies show that 13 per cent of under-five mortality globally, and an estimated 16 per cent in India, could be prevented by the universal practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life** .
• Spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which was launched in 2005 and runs until 2012, proposes a bold approach to meeting the MDG challenges for health.
• NRHM aims to decentralise health planning and implementation to the district level while simultaneously pushing for convergence not only among traditionally vertical health programmes – such as Reproductive and Child Health (RCH), Immunisation, Malaria Control, TB Control – but also with other government departments.
• Nationally, full immunisation coverage has increased from 42.0 per cent in 1998-99 to 43.5 per cent in 2005-06*** .
• Polio outbreaks occurred in 2002 and 2006, spreading the disease to areas of the country that were largely polio-free. These outbreaks were contained, and transmission was again stopped in West Bengal and most areas of southern India.
• Circulation of Type 1 poliovirus has been brought to its lowest levels ever in districts of western Uttar Pradesh (UP).
* Sample Registration System Bulletin. Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. October 2007.