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Despite progress, India to miss MDG targets

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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.”

(IANS)

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)