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Immunisation is better, yet 1 child dies of pneumonia or diarrhea every 2 mins in India: Report

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Bengaluru, Nov 27: In a revelation that would embarrass many in one of the world's fastest developing nations, preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea killed almost 2,61,000 children aged below five in India in 2016.

Immunisation is better, yet 1 child dies of pneumonia or diarrhea every 2 mins in India: Report

According to the Pneumonia & Diarrhea Progress Report 2018 released on November 12, which is observed as World Pneumonia Day, this is the highest number of deaths by the two diseases in the world.

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The staggering number of deaths meant that 735 children died in the country everyday of the either disease in 2016 and to break it down further, it comes to loss of one child every two minutes. "Globally, pneumonia and diarrhoea cause a quarter of deaths in children under five and fighting them together can drastically reduce child mortality across the world," said a report in IndiaSpend.

The progress report by the International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland, USA, India has had a mixed success in tackling the dual menaces in 2016. While immunisation coverage improved, the treatment indicators declined, it said.

While the coverage of the Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine that prevents pneumonia has gone up by 8 per cent and rotavirus vaccine that protects against diarrhea by 9 per cent, India's other treatment indicators fell (ORS coverage by 13 per cent, exclusive breastfeeding by 10 per cent and access to pneumonia care by 4 per cent), as per the progress report published in 2017.

Under-5 mortality rate: India matches global average but behind Bangladesh, Nepal

The positive side

However, one positive outcome has been a steady decline in deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia below the age of five (almost 7.2 per cent a year for diarrhea and 6.8 per cent a year for pneumonia), as per data.

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