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India all set to achieve health MDGs

Dec 05, 2012

The current trends with regard to under-five mortality and maternal mortality ratio indicate that India should be able to achieve the MDG targets by 2015, said Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, India.

India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched in 2005 and in the last seven years of the implementation of the mission the infant mortality rate declined from 58 in 2005 to 44 in 2011 while the maternal mortality ratio declined from 254 in 2004-06 to 212 in 2007-09. The coverage of measles immunisation increased from 69.1 per cent in 2007-08 to 74 per cent in 2009. The annual rate of decline of IMR accelerated by about 37 per cent between 2005-11 (after inception of NRHM in 2005) as compared to 2000-2005. The annual rate of decline of MMR between 2005 and 2008 is 22 per cent higher than the annual rate of decline between 2000 and 2005. This is expected to show even better performance after latest survey results are known. While there has been a significant improvement in rate of reduction of IMR, MMR and measles immunisation, there is still a need to improve further.

However, the current trends with regard to under-five mortality and maternal mortality ratio indicate that India should be able to achieve the MDG targets.

Details are as follows:
1. In respect of Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) among children, the MDG-4 target is to reduce it by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. In case of India, it translates into a goal of reducing U5MR from 115 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 38 in 2015. As per estimates of available from the Office of the Registrar General of India, the U5MR for the year 2008, 2009 and 2010 has been 69, 64 and 59 per 1000 live births respectively registering an annual decline of 7.2 per cent during 2008-09 and 7.8 per cent during 2009-10. If this trend continues (with improved health systems and effective implementation of evidence based interventions, the rate of decline should actually continue to improve further), India will reach the U5MR of 39 per 1000 live births by 2015, almost achieving the MDG 4 target.

2. In respect of the MDG-5 Target, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is to be reduced by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. The MMR in 1990 is estimated to be 600 per 100,000 live births as per the latest UN inter agency estimates. This means that MMR in India is to be reduced to <150 per 100,000 live births by 2015. As per the estimates available from the Office of Registrar General of India, the MMR declined from 254 per 100,000 live births in 2004-06 to 212 per 100,000 live births in 2007-09 observing an average annual decline of 5.5 per cent. Even if the annual rate of decline of 5.5 per cent observed between 2004-06 and 2007-09 continues (although it is expected to improve in view of increased institutional deliveries post 2008), India’s MMR will decline from 212 in 2007-09 to 143 by 2015, well below the MDG Target. Infact, a reduction of 388 points (about 86 per cent) has already been achieved by 2008 against the required reduction of 450 points by 2015.

This information was given by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Parliament).

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