Updated: October 3, 2017 4:21:12 am
At least 75,493 infant deaths were recorded across India in the first four months of this financial year (till July), and 5,547 of them were from Maharashtra, data received under the Right to Information show. Eighty four per cent (64,093) of these children died aged less than one year. Madhya Pradesh, with 9,269 children aged till 5, recorded the highest deaths followed by Uttar Pradesh with 8,440 deaths. In Delhi, 1,635 children died this year. Gujarat recorded deaths of 6,755 children aged less than five.
RTI information accessed by activist Chetan Kothari showed that while deaths in infants aged less than one year has always been high due to low-birth weight and pre-term deliveries, the deaths of children in the age bracket 1-5 years has gradually been rising. From 16,042 deaths recorded in that age group in 2014-15, the count rose to 17,744 in 2015-16 and 18,739 in 2016-17. Between April and July this year, 11,400 deaths have already been recorded.
The least deaths were recorded in Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep where the death toll stood at two digits.
In Maharashtra, 4,764 children in the age group 0-1 and 783 in the age group of 1-5 have died between April and July this year. “This year we have seen infections on the rise. The worst affected are children. In the north, encephalitis has been common amongst children. Dengue cases have been high in Maharashtra. Apart from infections, cancer is affecting more and more of the younger population,” said Dr Mamta Manglani, head of the paediatric department in Sion hospital.
According to doctors, monsoon also contributed to maximum deaths among children, specially those suffering from malnourishment. In Mumbai, RTI information by activist Kothari shows the deaths in various age groups of children has been marginally reducing. In 2013, 5,554 children (0-5 years) passed away, 603 children in age bracket 10-15 died, 793 in age bracket 10-15 and 1,704 in 15-19 age bracket died.
In 2015, the count has reduced to 5,540 deaths in 0-5 age bracket, 563 in 5-10 age group, 676 in 10-15 age bracket and 1,563 in 15-19 age group have died. “The infant mortality rate has been reducing across India. Certain states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been doing very well in combating IMR,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director at Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra.
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