'India worst in cutting child mortality rates despite fast economic growth'

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London, Feb 19 : India might be the fastest growing economy in South Asia, but it is having trouble in duly translating the economic growth into improvements in child mortality, says a new research.

According to a new research, conducted by Save the Children, a non-charity, it was found that every year 10 million children die before their fifth birthday, of which 99 percent are from the developing world.

And in the case of the sub-continent, the figures for child mortality are shocking.

The research found that some states in India, including Orissa, Rajasthan and Bihar, have child and maternal mortality rates that are among the worst in the world.

The reason behind the figures can be substantiated from the fact that villagers have to travel for days in boats or auto-rickshaws to reach medical help.

"The figures for child mortality in India are shocking," BBC quoted Shireen Miller, from Save the Children India, as saying.

"They are close to sub-Saharan Africa, and one does ask that if we can make such rapid development economically then why can we not do the same socially?

"And in fact are we actually a developed country if we still have hundreds of thousands of babies dying and starving?" Miller added.

The government health officials in Orissa blamed ancient customs and practices in the villages, such as starving babies at birth and giving them cold baths, for the poor mortality rates.

They said that where they have been able to train traditional birth attendants, many more babies and mothers do survive.

ANI

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