According to a UNICEF Report, around 1.2 million children died of preventable causes in India in 2015. Most of the deaths were caused by diseases which are easily preventable and treatable. The report counts India among the five countries accounting for half the 5.9 million under-five deaths reported across the world last year. The other four countries are Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia,Nigeria and Pakistan, whose economies are smaller when compared with India’s. In India, premature and neonatal birth complications (39%) were the biggest killers followed by pneumonia (14.9%), diarrhoea (9.8%) and sepsis (7.9%) among others. Though India’s under-five mortality rate — deaths per 1,000 live births — has improved to 48 from 126 deaths in 1990, it still has a lot of catching up to do, says United Nations children’s emergency fund.
India, which reported 25 million births in 2015, is the third worst offender in the southeast Asian region after Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its next door neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh have a better under-five mortality rate of 36 and 38, respectively. China, whose economic growth has slowed in recent days, recorded only 11 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births.