Prelims level : Policies Mains level : GS-II Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the Population by the Centre and States and the performance of These Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections
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  • Recently, the ‘Level and Trends in Child Mortality’ report released by the UNICEF, has reported that  the under 5 mortality of girls in India is exceeded that of boys.

About Level and Trends in Child Mortality Report:


  • In 2018, fewer countries showed gender disparities in child mortality, and across the world, boys are expected to have a higher probability of dying before reaching age 5 than girls but, this trend was not reflected in India.
  • The risk of dying before age 5 for girls is significantly higher than what be expected based on global patterns. Most of these countries are primarily located in Southern Asia and Western Asia.
  • Half of all under-5 deaths in 2018 occurred in five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. India and Nigeria alone account for about a third.
  • According to India’s 2017 Sample Registration System, the States with the highest burden of neonatal mortality are Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with 32, 33 and 30 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. The Average neonatal mortality rate of India is 23 per 1,000 live births.
  • Further, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand showed the largest gender gaps in under-5 mortality.
  • The burden of child mortality is determined both by the mortality rate (the proportion of children who die) and by the estimated population of any given State (total number of annual births).
  • Uttar Pradesh is the State with the highest number of estimated new-born deaths in India, both because of the high neonatal mortality rate and because of the large cohort of births that occur every year in the State, released by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).
  • The report adds that despite advancements made over the past two decades, one child or young adolescent died every five seconds in 2018.
  • According to the report, the Current trends predict that close to 10 million 5- to 14-year-olds, and 52 million children under 5 years of age, will die between 2019 and 2030.

Causes of Child Mortality

  • According to Global Heath Observatory (GHO) data, the leading causes of death among children under five in 2017 were preterm birth complications, acute respiratory infections, intrapartum-related Complications, Congenital Anomalies and Diarrhoea. Neonatal deaths accounted for 47% of under-five deaths in 2017.
  • It can be achieved by providing
    • Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding,
    • Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene and providing immunizations.
    • Improving access to skilled health professionals for antenatal, birth, and postnatal care,
    • Improving access to nutrition and micronutrients, promoting knowledge of danger signs among family members,
  • Many of these Lifesaving Interventions are beyond the reach of the world’s Poorest Communities.
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