India’s most populous state has slid past Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to record the country’s worst infant and under-five mortality rates, according to newly-released health data.
Although Uttar Pradesh’s infant mortality rate (IMR) improved from 73 deaths per 1,000 live births to 64 over the 10 years to 2016, other states and countries did better; the state’s IMR is now the same as the strife-torn west-African nation of Mauritania (65), worse than another poor, chaotic African country, Burkina Faso (61) and only just better than Afghanistan (66).
Ahead of the swearing in of a new government in Uttar Pradesh, data released from the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16 (NFHS-4) show that the state now also has India’s worst under-five mortality rate of 78 deaths per 1,000 live births which is comparable to that of Mozambique (79), an African nation with half of India’s GDP per capita. This is an 18-point reduction in under-five mortality from 96 per 1,000 live births 10 years ago.
These newly-released figures are likely to increase India’s IMR (41) and under-five mortality rate (50), which have improved over the last 10 years.
Despite being the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh spends Rs 452 per capita on health, 70 per cent less than Indian average.
One in two children in the state is not fully immunised, and the state has the country’s second-highest maternal mortality rate (258 deaths per 100,000 live births).
A decade ago, when the last NFHS survey was conducted, Chhattisgarh had an IMR of 71 deaths per 1,000 live births which reduced to 54 in 2015-16; Madhya Pradesh had an under-five mortality rate of 93 per 1,000 live births which has reduced to 65 in 2015-16.
Not all states in India are doing badly; the five best-performing states for infant mortality rates are Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which have IMRs comparable to the United States, Iran, Algeria, Philippines and Indonesia.
The five best-performing states for under-five mortality rates are Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra which have under-five mortality rates at par with the United States, Iraq, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and Brazil.
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