Millennium Development Goals and Infant Mortality in India: A Distant Dream or a Reality
Child mortality and more particularly infant mortality is often used as an indicator of the socioeconomic development of a country since children (infants), more than any other age-group of a population, depend heavily on the socioeconomic conditions of their environment for survival. Thus, the level of child mortality would present a measure of how well a society meets the needs of its people (Bicego and Ahmad, 1996). Looking into the history of the decline in mortality in India, it can be noted that in the country as a whole the level of infant mortality which was very high before 1951, fell substantially during the later half of the last century, although its level is still very high. As per the recent SRS estimates, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is 58 per 1000 live `births in 2005. It has also been a cause of concern that the pace of decline in infant mortality in the country has slowed during the last decade, particularly during its later half. Yet, there is surprisingly little evidence to suggest that planners and policy makers feel seriously concerned about this problem. In India, the programmes to reduce infant mortality had been guided by health professionals who were convinced that available low-cost technology was adequate to achieve the set goals.
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