World | India

300,000 one-day-old Indian babies die each year from preventable causes

Lack of political will and funding blamed for crisis

  • AFP
  • Published: 16:00 May 7, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit:

New Delhi: More than 300,000 babies die within 24 hours of being born in India each year from infections and other preventable causes, a report said on Tuesday, blaming a lack of political will and funding for the crisis.

India accounts for 29 per cent of all newborn deaths worldwide, according to the charity Save the Children which published the findings at the launch of its annual State of the World’s Mothers report.

The report on 186 countries showed South Asia — which accounts for 24 percent of the world’s population — recording 40 per cent of the world’s first-day deaths.

Bangladesh and Pakistan also have large numbers of yearly first-day deaths at 28,000 and 60,000 with chronic malnourishment of mothers one of the major factors for the fatalities in the region.

“Progress has been made, but more than 1,000 babies die every day on their first day of life from preventable causes throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,” said Mike Novell, the regional director of the charity.

The charity identified three major causes of newborn deaths — complications during birth, prematurity and infections — and said access to low-cost, life-saving interventions could cut down the figures by as much as 75 per cent.

“What is lacking is the political will and funding to deliver these solutions to all the mothers and babies who need them,” it said.

A decade of rapid economic growth has allowed India to boost spending on poor and rural communities but Save the Children said most such programmes had not benefited those most in need.

More than half of all Indian women give birth without the help of skilled health care professionals, leading to infections and complications.

In far-flung areas, doctors and hospitals are rare and villagers often put the health of their children in the hands of poorly trained substitutes.

But even in cities such as New Delhi with relatively better healthcare facilities women are delivering at home, said Sharmila Lal, a Delhi-based gynaecologist.

“Even if hospitals are near at hand, the women are having babies at home in a highly unsafe and unhygienic environment just because of lack of awareness,” Lal added.

Lal said India must invest in creating a pool of paramedical staff trained in childbirth to take the load off doctors “who often don’t have time or patience to explain simple life-saving measures to expectant mothers”.

The charity said the problem of infant mortality could be addressed by closing the equity gap in a developing country like India where economic benefits have been shared unequally.

“If all newborns in India experienced the same survival rates as newborns from the richest Indian families, nearly 360,000 more babies would survive each year,” the report said.

Comments (11)

  1. Added 16:24 May 8, 2013

    It's only mean a wake up call to all indian who are living in a very luxurious life esp in a very luxurious wedding , all gold etc. yet other people in their country are living very poorly that need help.

    Ana, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:38 May 8, 2013

    There are states like Kerala where life expectancy is same like Europian countries and birth mortalities are very low. Why only bad news?

    Saqeer SV, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:22 May 8, 2013

    this is the real India and why should Gulf news not publish such kind of news in the front page, we should appreciate Gulf news and let Indian govt know about this fact so we hope in the feature they will take some positive steps , because this is the responsability of Indian governement to take care aobut thieirs peoples . Life is beautiful and not body can close his eyes from the face but should open the eyes and sort out the problem which are being faced by us. Thaks to Gulf news.

    Zia ur Rahman, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:30 May 8, 2013

    Its not about insulting any country, this is about awareness to the people and world and you should accept that mistake and act on it to improve rather than just blaming the media. Luckily at this era we have strong media and social networking sites to bring these kind of hidden problems to light.

    Amir, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:42 May 8, 2013

    This story is not just sad, but shameful for great Indian government. The death rate of new born babies is alarming, there are many reasons behind this. Lack of education and awareness, lack of political or government support and lack of proper healthcare system. In villages and small cities people avoid going to hospitals for child birth, woman give birth at home with the help of poorly trained maids. They are not skilled or trained professionals and the chances of mother and child's living becomes more risky. In far areas where small villages and towns are located there is no facility of hospitals or clinics so woman have to give birth at home in unhygienic and unsafe conditions. Some people are very poor and cant pay for hospital or clinic charges. The government has to come up with a secure plan for childbirth and health related areas. We often hear about big scams by political people and bureaucrats in India, if the government spends even half of this to childbirth projects the problem will become half. Also they have to emphasis education and awareness of public, especially woman. Teach them what are the disfavours of childbirth at home. The government can fund different organizations and charities who works on safe childbirth schemes.

    Ms. Renu kala, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:38 May 8, 2013

    Unfortunate that GULF NEWS giving priority for sad stories in the front.. Was this an achievement of India to be published in UAE based paper? It will be much better if you can highlight only achievements in front ...

    Haneef Puttur, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:28 May 8, 2013

    I pity and it is really very shame on Indian government. they failed to provide basic health care to the civilians. 1,000 newborns die every day due to lack of basic medical care even in 2013!

    Syed Tabrez Ahmad, dUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:08 May 8, 2013

    its a very painfull news for every one, but the goverment of India must take action.

    tariq, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:58 May 8, 2013

    This is a very sad state of reporting, using the front page. What does it indicate? Do they even bother to report the scientific and technological advancement and the best brains of great nation India?

    Anonymous, Dubai, India

  10. Added 09:40 May 8, 2013

    Since it is unlikely for India to turn into socialist state with high-scale government funding of hospitals, the effective solution would be to enroll population in birth control programs. People should not have babies if they cannot afford them. It's not the state's responsibility, but the parents' duty to ensure that the child is provided for, to ensure he or she is cared for. China did it with a smashing success, it is an absolute must for India to follow.

    Yukka, Moscow, Russian Federation

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