2.1 million children below 5 yrs die annually in India

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) The government today admitted that 2.1 million children aged below five die annually in the country.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said as per the findings of UNICEF report, 9.7 million children below five die globally every year which includes 2.1 million from India.

She said the government has instituted measures to reduce neonatal, infant and under five mortality through the Reproductive and Child Health Programme.

Ms Lakshmi said steps taken by the government in this regard were being implemented by the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness (IMNCI) strategy, which adopts a holistic approach to the management of the common causes, measles and malaria all compounded by malnutrition.

IMNCI will be implemented throughout the country in a phased manner. Besides, emphasis will be given to ensure good institutional deliveries and training of health professionals on essential newborn care, she added.

Efforts to deliver new born care, both facility-based as well as home-based and micronutrient supplementation with Vitamin A, Iron Folic Acid and Zinc were also being made.

''Infant and Young Child Nutrition and Immunisation are some other focal areas of the Reproductive and Child Health programme,'' Ms Lakshmi said.

The National Rural Health Mission, launched in April, 2005, for a period of seven years, is an overarching intervention with a holistic approach and has envisaged reduction in infant mortality and neonatal mortality as one of the prime goals to be achieved, she added.

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