India ranks highest in new born deaths in S Asia: UNICEF

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Mumbai, Jan 23: India ranks highest in new-born deaths, with one million new born babies dying every year, UNICEF's global flagship report 'The State of the World's Children 2008: Child Survival' revealed. Largest number of new-born deaths occurs in South Asia.

Commenting on the occasion, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M Veneman said, ''Community-level integration of essential services for mothers, newborns, young children, and sustainable improvements in national health systems can save the lives of more than 26,000 children under five, who die each day.'' The report describes the impact of simple, affordable life-saving measures, such as breast feeding, immunisation, insecticide-treated bed nets and vitamin A supplementation, all of which have helped in reducing child deaths in the recent years.

UNICEF Country Representative in India, Dr Gianni Murzi said, ''The world will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without India achieving the MDGs. In order to do this, proven and cost-effective interventions must be scaled up without delay. The government, UN, civil society, private sector as well as academic institutions must unite for Indian children in a concerted and urgent effort.'' The report also emphasises the need to empower local communities to provide immediate assistance to sick or severely malnourished children, while seeking transfers to medical facilities. These communities generate necessary demand for quality health care and their engagement is vital, if marginalised and remote populations are to be reached, the report stated.

UNI

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