Unesco says child mortality rate in India still a concern

Unesco says child mortality rate in India still a concern

New Delhi: Even as India is doing well in reducing its drop-out rates of children in schools at primary level, high rate of child malnutrition remains a major area of concern, a UN report said on Tuesday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) “EFA Global Monitoring Report —Overcoming inequality: Why governance matters", released on Tuesday, said India would achieve net enrolment ratio of 99% by 2015. But the country has to seriously look into the problem of child malnutrition, which would affect children’s achievements.

It projected that the number of drop-out students in India may fall from 7.2 million in 2006 to 0.6 million in 2015. There may be at least 29 million out-of-school children in 2015. Pakistan is projected to have 3.7 million children out of school that year.

However, India has failed to make significant progress in arresting the child mortality rate and malnutrition of children. Bangladesh and Nepal have outperformed India in reducing child mortality rate, the report said.

Had India reduced child mortality to Bangladesh level, it would have had 20,000 fewer deaths in 2000, the report said.

While the average income has increased, India has not done much to enhance child nutrition. Due to iodine deficiency, about six million children are born with mental damage every year. As health facilities are lacking, more than 25% of the children with diarrhoea are never treated.