5000 children under 5 die in India everyday: UNICEF | delhi | Hindustan Times
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5000 children under 5 die in India everyday: UNICEF

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2009 17:10 IST

Despite an improvement in child mortality figures, 5,000 children under the age of five die in India everyday due to preventable causes, according to a latest UNICEF report.

Within the under five-mortality rate, the maximum 96 per cent of children who die belong to the Scheduled Tribes, 88 per cent to Scheduled Castes and 59 to general population.

"It is early marriage and inadequate health care of women which adversely affects the survival of their children," said Karen Hulshoff, Country Representative of UNICEF in India said.

The report says malnutrition rates in India continue to be very high. Though the percentage of malnourished children below the age of three has decreased from 52 per cent to 46 per cent, it is still way below the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Forty seven per cent of women had deliveries with skilled health provider, it said.

A majority 56 per cent women use contraceptives. Condom use was high at 61 per cent for women and 52 per cent for men, it said.

Knowledge about HIV/AIDS has also increased. While 34 per cent of men are aware of AIDS, in women the corresponding figure was 24 per cent.

Between 1990 and 2006, the use of improved sanitation in India has doubled. Reaching the MDG target remains a great challenge and requires accelerated efforts to outpace population growth, Hulshoff said.

The Chief Minister congratulated Unicef for its focus on the issues faced by children of the state and hoped that continued efforts to throw light on the burning issues faced by the children would help lay a solid foundation for actions by the stakeholders.

Reading out statistics, Unicef representative Michel Saint-Lot said mortality of children under the age of five fell from 94.2 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 63.2 in 2007. At the national level the mortality rate fell from 117 to 72 during the same period.

More girls went to primary school as attendance rates in the 6-10 age group increased to 98.1 per cent in AP compared with 81 per cent in the country.

Saint-Lot appealed to the Chief Minister to set up a state-level Commission for protection of child rights. While the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was established in March 2007, Goa, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka have set up similar commissions at the state-level.