Thursday, May 08, 2008

India children's health 'ignored'

Indian children on the streets
Indian girls are more likely to die than boys

More than half of Indian children under the age of five do not get the health care they need, according to a report by Save the Children.

It ranks India alongside Ghana when it comes to providing basic health care to its children under five years of age.

The annual report looks at whether developing countries are delivering health care effectively to children.

It found the Philippines was performing best with almost 69% of children able to get access to health care.

Ethiopia ranks last - only 16% of children under five get health care when they need it.

'Basic measures'

The report, called State of the World's Mothers, says girls die at much higher rates in India than most countries.

Although India has cut child its mortality rate by 34% since 1990, Indian girls are 61% more likely than boys to die between the ages of one and five.

Inequity of health care among male and female children is responsible for this situation, the report says.

The report says experts predict that over 60% of the nearly 10 million children who die every year could be saved by delivering basic health services through a health facility or community health worker.

"A child's chance of reaching its fifth birthday should not depend on the country or community where it is born," said Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children's chief executive.

"We need to do a better job of reaching the poorest children with basic health measures like vaccines, antibiotics and skilled care at childbirth," she said.

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