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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Bihar showcase in India's poor performance in child-women health

Bihar is an agent of change for mothers in the country which, otherwise, is not the happiest place for women to become mothers.

india Updated: May 08, 2012 21:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Bihar is an agent of change for mothers in the country which, otherwise, is not the happiest place for women to become mothers.

The State of Mothers' Report of NGO Save the Children singles out Bihar's unique aimed at providing vitamin A supplements to all pre-school children in the state. Around 62 % of children have vitamin A deficiency.

To achieve the target more than 11,000 health centers, 80,000 anganwadis (child development centers) and 3,400 temporary sites were used to distribute the vitamin A syrup.

In 2009, the programme reached 13.4 million children under five years of age, protecting 95% of children against the consequences of vitamin A deficiency. An outstanding achievement considering only 34% of Indian children got vitamin A supplement in 2010.

Bihar's achievement, however, did not help India is improving its overall ranking among 165 nations on the Mother's Index. In fact, it fell down by one place in a year to 76 in 2012.

The report, which looks at how good the life of a woman or a mother is around the globe, one out of every 140 women in India runs the risk of dying during childbirth, which is a much higher figure compared to neighbouring nations such as China and Sri Lanka.

In China, one in 1,500 women runs the risk of maternal death, while it is one in 1,100 in Sri Lanka and one in 180 in Myanmar.

The study also found that less than half (49%) of women in India use some form of modern contraceptives and only 53% of births are attended by skilled health workers, which is the fifth lowest in 80 least developed nations or Tier-II countries.

With 43% of underweight children in under-five age group, India has the highest rate of child malnutrition of all Tier II countries and the second highest rate in the world (tied with Yemen) after Timor-Leste.

The report said that 1,000 days of breastfeeding can improve child's health and urged the governments to promote exclusive breasfeeding.

First Published: May 08, 2012 21:08 IST

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