Washington, Dec 18: India has made great strides in reducing both child and adult mortality since 1990, according to a new study that found adults and children in the country are living longer and healthier lives than two decades ago.
The first-ever journal publication of country-specific cause-of-death data for 188 countries found people are living much longer worldwide than they were two decades earlier, as death rates from infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease have fallen. Given the size of India's population in particular, and projections that it may soon become the world's most populous country, mortality trends there have global implications, researchers said.
In 2013, India accounted for 19%, or 10.2 million, of the world's deaths. The country has made great strides in reducing both child and adult mortality since 1990. The average yearly rates of decline in mortality have been 3.7% per year for children and 1.3% per year for adults. Between 1990 and 2013, life expectancy at birth increased from 57.3 years to 64.2 years for males and from 58.2 years to 68.5 years for females.
"It's very encouraging that adults and children in India are living longer and healthier lives," said Dr Jeemon Panniyammakal of the Public Health Foundation of India and a co-author of the study published in The Lancet.
"But India's growing influence on global health means we must do more to address the diseases that kill people prematurely," said Panniyammakal. Panniyammakal was part of an international consortium of more than 700 researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Causes of death vary widely by country, but, at the global level, drug use disorders and chronic kidney disease account for some of the largest per cent increases in premature deaths since 1990, the study found.