The number of infants (below age of one year) succumbing in state has gone down by three for every 1000 children born in the course of last year. Good news, but with a rider.
The state continues to retain the infamous tag of being the worst place to be born in the country as it still records the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) among the 29 states and six union territories in India.
IMR is the number of infants (per 1000 births) succumbing before attaining the age of one year and is a major health and development indicator for a state.
High IMR reflects gaps in the health care and nutrition services. The latest data of Sample Registration System (SRS) for the year 2011, released by the office of Registrar General of India (RGI) on October 19 shows that the IMR in the state has dipped to 59.
It is still two points higher than the second worst performers Odisha and Uttar Pradesh that have recorded IMR of 57.
The scenario is worst in rural MP, where 63 out of every 1000 children born continue to die before the age of one year.
Comparatively, the average IMR for the country is 44 per thousand live births, a three-point drop again from the IMR of 2010 (57).
The IMR for rural India is 48. The best performers in the country are the small states of Goa and Manipur, where the IMR is just 11 per 1000 live births.
However, Goa's IMR has increased by a point compared to 2010, when it was 10. Manipur has done well to reduce the rate from 14 to 11. SRS 2010 had put the IMR in MP at 62 per 1000 live births and that of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh at 61.
This means that during course of last one year, Odisha and UP managed a better show leading to four-point drop in IMR in these two states compared to a three-point drop in MP.
MP has been carrying the dubious distinction of having the worst IMR in the country from the past eight years, ever since Odisha managed to lower its mortality rates in 2004.
In 2003, Odisha has IMR of 83 against 82 of MP.
High Birth and death rates
The SRS 2011 data also shows that the state continues to have the highest birth rate (26.9/1000 population) and the second highest death rate (8.7/1000 population) in the country.
Birth and deaths rates are two other important health and development indicators that reflect the success of population control measures and the quality of health services available.