NEW DELHI: India was ranked top among countries for death among children aged under five, with the major reason being preterm birth complications followed by preventable infectious diseases, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The researchers analysed state-level Indian data on the causes of death for the years 2000-2015. They found India made great progress during the period, reducing annual mortality among children under five from 2.5 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2015.
According to the study, in Delhi, deaths of children under five number 24.46 per 1,000 live births. Deaths among infants aged 0-28 months are 16.32 per 1,000 live births, while deaths among children aged 1-59 months number 8.14 per 1,000 live births.
The study conducted by the research team included scientists from the Bloomberg School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, World Health Organisation, Indian health and vital record agencies, and other institutions.
Using data sources such as government health surveys, the team assessed total mortality, mortality rates and causes of mortality for children under five in India.
The study noted that majority of the under-five deaths are due to preterm birth complications which count for 26.7 per cent followed by delivery complications (11.9 per cent), meningitis (9.7 per cent) and congenital diseases (9.8 per cent).
“India can accelerate its reduction of under-five mortality rates by scaling up vaccine coverage and improving childbirth and neonatal care,” said study co-lead author Li Liu, PhD, assistant professor at the Bloomberg School.