NEW DELHI, MAY 10: Two recent health surveys carried out by the
Government have thrown up mixed results. While one reports that
the Infant Mortality Rate has fallen below 60 for the first time
in the country, the worrying sign is that the already low
immunisation rates are showing further decline.
The most alarming is the case of Uttar Pradesh, which shows a
fall in immunisation from 43.7 per cent in 1998-99 to 28.1 per
cent in the latest data.
In 1998-1999, 54 per cent of the children in the country were
reported to be fully immunised. But a district household survey
2002-2004, the data for which was released last month, shows a
decline in this to 47.6 per cent. In 1989-99, India had
one-third of the world?s non-immunised children.
Immunisation rates seem to have fallen across the country,
including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which account for 40 per cent
of the total children in the age group of zero to one who need
immunisation. But unlike Uttar Pradesh, Bihar has shown only a
marginal decline, from 24.4 to 22.4 per cent.
Experts believe that the focus on polio eradication, at the cost
of routine immunisation, could have contributed to the decline.
The other states showing low figures are Rajasthan (25.4 per
cent), Tripura (26.7 per cent), Jharkhand (29.3 per cent) and
Madhya Pradesh (32.5 per cent).
The states at the other end of the spectrum are Tamil Nadu (with
an immunisation rate of 92.1 per cent), Kerala (81.2 per cent),
Pondicherry (89.4 per cent), Goa (81.5 per cent) and Himachal
Pradesh (79.4 per cent).
There is good news, however, on the infant mortality front. For
the first time, India has reported IMR below 60, with the survey
from Registrar General of India released recently showing 58
deaths per 1,000 live births in the country.
Though the rates are still high compared to other countries, the
figures have shown decline from 68/1,000 live births in 2000,
and 60/1,000 live births in 2004.
Here too, it?s the southern states which generally perform
better, with Kerala at the top with 12 deaths/1,000 live births.