Nearly 8,02,000 infant deaths were reported in India in 2017, the lowest in five years, according to the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME).
A new UNIGME report said 6,05,000 neonatal deaths were reported in India in 2017, while the number of deaths among children aged 5–14 was 1,52,000.
"India continues to show impressive decline in child deaths, with its share of global under-five deaths for the first time equalling its share of childbirths. The efforts for improving institutional delivery, along with countrywide scale up of special newborn care units and strengthening of routine immunisation, have been instrumental towards this," Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative, UNICEF India, told Press Trust of India.
The investment on ensuring holistic nutrition under the POSHAN campaign and national commitment to make India open defecation-free by 2019 are also steps that will help in accelerating progress further, she added.
The number of infant deaths has come down from 8.67 lakh in 2016 to 8.02 lakh in 2017. In 2016, India's infant mortality rate was 44 per 1,000 live births. In 2017, sex-specific under-five mortality rate was 39 in 1,000 for male and 40 in 1,000 for females.
According to a report in The Indian Express citing survey data, an estimated 6.3 million children aged below 15 had died in 2017, or 1 every 5 seconds, mostly of preventable causes, according to new mortality estimates released by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group.
A vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths. "Without urgent action, 56 million children under five will die from now until 2030 – half of them newborns," said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy.
The number of children dying under the age of five has fallen dramatically from 12.6 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2017. The number of deaths in older children aged between 5 to 14 years dropped from 1.7 million to under a million in the same period.