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'Two million children die in India annually'

india Updated: Aug 05, 2008 20:23 IST
Two million children die in India annually: UNICEF

Over two million children in India die every year due to malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea, a UNICEF report released on Tuesday said.

Around 2.1 million children died in India in 2006 while the number was 4,15,000 in China. In 2004 and 2005, nearly four million children had died in India where the Infant Mortality Rate is 57 per 1,000 births, the State of the Asia Pacific's Children Report 2008 said.

Health care fails to reach poorest sections of people in India, it said, adding the country needs to improve in many areas including nutrition, water and sanitation, education, gender equality and child protection.

Unless India takes steps to address them, efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals, that aims to achieve education and health care for all by 2015, will fail, the report said.

"The divide between rich and poor is rising at a troubling rate within sub-regions of Asia-Pacific, leaving a vast number of mothers and children at risk of increasing relative poverty and continued exclusion from quality primary health-care services," it said.

In India, one out of every three women is underweight putting them at risk of having low birth weight babies and these babies are 20 times more likely to die in infancy than healthy babies.