The increasing number of children deaths is a distressing situation for the country. UNICEF reported the highest number of children deaths (under the age of five) at 8.82 lakhs in India in 2018. As per UNICEF report ‘The State of the World’s Children.’
According to the report, “almost half of the children are stunted in the worst-affected state compared with a fifth in the least-affected state”. They further concluded that 38% of India’s children abated from growing properly. This is because of inter generational poverty and poor nutrition in early childhood. Also, the report pointed out the fact that 69% of children in India die because of malnutrition.
The data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2016-2018) revealed that only 6.4% of children between 6-23 months receive an adequate diet. Besides, India ranked 102 among 117 countries on Global Hunger Index 2019. India being on a lower rank than Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Despite the government’s huge expenditure of Rs 9000 crore on ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ to weed out malnutrition, no significant change has been observed. India still has the highest rate of ‘child wasting’. Moreover, 51% of Indian women are anemic and 24% are underweight.
Malnutrition Rest of the World
Nigeria is second on the list of children’s death due to undernourishment. It recorded 8,66,000 such deaths in 2018 followed by Pakistan with 4,09,000. The democratic republic of Congo has recorded 2,96,000 number of such deaths followed by Ethiopia (1,91,000). The median under-five -mortality rate for every 1,000 live births in India is 37,120 in Nigeria, 88 in DR Congo and 55 in Ethiopia.
The UNICEF report concluded that at least one in 3 children all over the world is either undernourished or overweight.