UP touches alarming figures in child malnutrition

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Lucknow, June 24 (UNI) Unbelievable as it may sound but it is true. An estimated 1,097 children die in Uttar Pradesh every day due to lack of basic health facilities and nutrition.

Though the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of 99 in 1990 was brought down to about 72 this year but, the situation remained critical, claimed UNICEF.

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is aiming to reduce children mortality by two-thirds by 2015, if the target is achieved by UP it would save the lives of at least 8.8 million children.

In 2005, as per the estimate, the 2,025 children had died per day when the IMR was 76 deaths per thousand. However, the target has been set to bring the IMR to 33 deaths per thousand by the year 2015.

Politicisation of development and health-related programmes cuppled with political interference in the bureaucracy was said to be the main reason for the high rate of IMR in the state.

UP contributes 25 deaths in the total of 97 IMR deaths in the country, which is 2.5 times more than that of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, which hold second place with nine deaths.

Meanwhile, UNICEF dwelt upon an ambitious strategy to achieve the MDG by setting up Divisional Health&Nutrition Technical Cordination Centres (DHNTC) to give a thrust to the child health and nutrition programme. For the first time, UNICEF has started such a programme in the country with assistance of the state government.

State UNICEF representative Nimal Hettiaratchy, told UNI here today that children under the age of 5 years die due to the lack of health facilities and nutrition.

''The new concept of DHNTC would certainly give a boost to the ongoing programmes for the children as it has taken birth registration, routine immunisation, Vitamin A, Rural Sanitation, HIV/AIDs awareness, Iodized Salt consumption, female literacy rate, nutrition, no-anemia, exclusive breast feeding, quality water supply, polio drive and registration at primary level schools programmes and to achieve a target of 70 to 85 per cent at the earliest'', he said.

The UNICEF representative of Sri Lanka based ex-bureaucrat, who has completed his tenure in UP, however, maintained that politicisation of bureacracy and developmental activities was one of the main reasons for the bad picture in health and immunisation programme in the state.'' Frequent shifting of the officials from one department to another and in the districts have also hit the programmes badly,'' he asserted.

UNI MB RL DB1341

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