Despite progress, India to miss MDG targets


New Delhi: India has achieved considerable progress in reducing infant and under-five mortality rates but is way behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, said a new report released by the union health ministry.

The Millennium Development Goals, which include eight goals, were framed to address the world’s major development challenges with health and its related areas as the prime focus.

According to the National Health Profile 2015, released by Health Minister J.P. Nadda here, the Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) has declined from an estimated level of 125 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 52 in 2012.

The report said given the rate of reduction of U5MR, India tends to reach the rate of 49 by 2015 as per the historical trend, missing the MDG target by seven percentage points.

“However, considering the continuance of the sharper annual rate of decline witnessed in the recent years, India is likely to achieve the target,” it added.

As far as the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is concerned, it reduced by nearly 50 percent during 1990-2012 and the present level stands at 42.

Going by this trend, the IMR is likely to reach 40 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015, missing the MDG target of 27 by 13 points.

India is required to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from an estimated level of 437 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 109 per 100,000 live births by 2015.

But, at the historical pace of decrease, it would be able to reach an MMR of 140 per 100,000 live births by end 2015, falling short by 31.

The National Health Profile covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health.

The Central Bureau of Health Investigation (CBHI) has been publishing National Health Profile every year since 2005. This is the 11th edition.

The health minister also released an e-book of the report and said it was part of the many digital initiatives being taken by the government.

Nadda said that data was an important source of navigation.

“It helps in understanding the goals, our strengths and weaknesses and it is also an important means to strategize. Good compiled data enables the policymakers to make evidence-based policies and aids effective implementation of various schemes,” he added.

The minister said that the country now needs to work towards converting documented data into “real-time” data. “While digital data helps us to be more efficient, real time data helps to monitor our schemes and efforts in real time.”

He congratulated and appreciated CBHI for their recent initiatives regarding uses of geo-mapping of four different districts of different parts of the country such as the north-eastern region, south region, desert area and Jharkhand. He hoped that this exercise will extend to other parts of the country also.

Health Secretary B.K. Sharma said: “Data lets you plan. We need to collect data and that too at regular intervals.”