High allocation must to save the children
09th May 2013 07:23 AM
As if ranking second in the world, after Bangladesh, with 47 per cent of malnourished children wasn’t bad enough, India has now been recognised as the worst place to be born in, where 3,00,000 children die within 24 hours of their birth every year. The grim revelation by the NGO, Save the Children, is not surprising since it was earlier estimated by the UN that 2.1 million Indian children die per year — four every minute — before reaching the age of five. Moreover, the deaths are due to preventable diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid, malaria, measles and pneumonia.
As the State of the World’s Mothers report points out, children born in poor families have a high rate of mortality. The reason is not only poor hygienic and living conditions of the socially and economically disadvantaged families, but also that they are not always well informed. Poverty, too, weakens the natural resistance to ailments and hampers the process of recovery.
According to the Global Hunger Index (GHI), India is among the three countries where GHI went up from 22.9 to 23.7 between 1996 and 2011 while the conditions improved in 78 of the 81 developing countries. Among India’s neighbours, these included Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Given the inter-linked nature of the problem where economic development has to be accompanied by social advancement if children are to have better futures, a partnership between government, business, media and civil society is imperative. The first target should be Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh where mortality rates are higher than in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Kerala, with its high literacy, is the best in this respect followed by Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Maharashtra. The way forward is high allocation of resources for maternal health and child care services.