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India’s Government ‘Must Act Urgently’ To Address Child Mortality

Despite its success in reducing the number of deaths among children under age five from 2.5 million in 2001 to 1.5 million in 2012, “India alone still accounts for 20 percent of child mortality worldwide — and a shocking 48 percent of Indian children under the age of five are chronically malnourished,” a New York Times editorial states. “According to a report published by The Lancet in September, half of India’s child mortality occurs in just 81 of its 597 districts,” some of which are in the country’s richest states, the editorial writes. Noting “gender remains the biggest factor in an Indian baby’s chance of survival,” the editorial concludes, “The way forward is clear. The government of India must act urgently to find out why some districts are failing and to provide wider access to sanitation, nutrition and health services — meanwhile redoubling efforts to make sure girls are not forced to become mothers before they are ready and, in general, to give them the same life chances as boys” (11/8).