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We still fail to save a new life...
India’s infant mortality rates continue to be shockingly high

While India is one of the progressive nations in the world in terms of economic growth, it has achieved little in terms of human development. Thanks to ineffective governance mechanisms and killing corruption, India lags miserably when it comes to ensuring inclusive growth – in terms of development, peace and overall prosperity. A stark and shocking indicator of this is the country’s shameful inability to save and nurture its newly born children.

A recent data revealed by the NGO group, ‘Save the Children’ is revealing. Around 2 million children die every year in the world within 24 hours of their birth. India accounts for an alarming 20% of that figure with 4,00,000 children dying within the first 24 hours. In addition, around 2 million children die every year in this country before they reach the age of five. More than half of these children die within one month of their birth.

Most surprisingly, the diseases that kill these children are curable and in fact, easily treatable. The real killers are inadequate healthcare services and lack of awareness in poor parents on how they can keep their children safe from such diseases. Public healthcare infrastructure falls way short, and private health services are still exorbitantly expensive. Health insurance could be a welcome solution, but there are significant caveats involved.

Just about 8% of the Indian population is covered by government health insurance schemes (and that’s 62 years after independence) and just 0.5% by private health insurers. Only 4-5% people are voluntarily taking up health insurance in India (as per IRDA); which means that a massive 95% is either unaware of the existence of such a cover or not sensitised enough to its true benefits. Due to these multiple issues saving our children continues to be a mammoth challenge, which the government and private companies have to meet together.

By:- Akram Hoque

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