Health and Population
die due to various reasons during different
phases of childhood. Neonatal mortality,
which is recorded as death within 28 days of
birth, is mostly related to biological and
pregnancy related complications like low
birth weight, injuries at the time of
delivery, sepsis or infections, and accounts
for 64% of all infant deaths.
the first year or infancy are predominantly
due to low birth weight, malnutrition, poor
management of diarrhoea and acute
respiratory infections. Thus, child
mortality is a telling indicator of the
quality of life of people, as the living
conditions and development opportunities of
the parents are starkly reflected in the
survival chances of their children. It
highlights not only the failure of the
health system but of the social development
agenda as a whole.
programmes focus on child mortality because
they aspire to reach a stage where
population stabilization is achieved by low
death and low birth rates with societies at
a higher level of socio-economic
development. Child mortality not only keeps
the death rates high, it also keeps the
birth rates high as parents decide to have
more children to compensate for those lost,
locking into a vicious cycle of mothers
giving birth to more children with weak
chances of survival.
are so many children born with low birth
weight in India?
baby weighing less than 2.5 kilograms at
birth is considered a low birth weight baby.
In India, as many as 70% of children are not
weighed at birth.
nutritional future begins with a women's
nutritional status in adolescence and in
pregnancy. Low birth weight occurs because
of poor maternal health and nutrition and
poor foetal growth. These infants may suffer
from infections, weakened immunity, learning
disabilities, impaired physical development
and, in severe cases, die soon after birth.
chronically undernourished from youth is
more likely to give birth to an underweight
baby, perpetuating the intergenerational
cycle. Inadequate diet or rest, smoking,
infections, cultural practices that restrict
diet during pregnancy discourage women from
gaining weight and long hours of physical
labour increase the chances of low birth
frequency of pregnancies are also of great
importance, with high risks encapsulated in
the phrase "too young, too old, too
many or too close".
intake of other micronutrients - Vitamin A,
iodine, folate, zinc - has a profound impact
on both the mother and the foetus, and on
the outcome of the pregnancy.