Are there adequate Healthcare services for Children in India?
Are there adequate Healthcare services for Children in India? | Credit: Newsclick

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Are there adequate Healthcare services for Children in India?

Aug 04, 2018

In India, the child mortality rates are extremely high. In fact, the country comes under the list of those countries that record the highest infant death rates. The primary reason for these dismal reports is because India lacks adequate healthcare services for children.

During the early stages of life, children must get proper nourishment for their mental, physical and social development. Even though India records steady economic growth and has numerous food schemes as well as food supplementation programmes, yet a considerable percentage of India’s children (who are between the age of 0–5 years) are found to be underweight. 

Credit: Unmind
Credit: Unmind

Malnourished Children in India

Following China, India is the most populous nation in the world. Where India’s child population between the age of 0–6 years is concerned, the country’s figures are 13% of the world’s child population.

Malnutrition and Mortality

Much progress has been made in the Indian healthcare sector; however, even then, a large percentage of child deaths take place in India. The leading cause of India’s high infant mortality rate is known to be malnutrition. Over time, the number of malnourished deaths in India has gone down, but still, the figures are high.

Due to malnutrition, children under the age of 5 years are found to suffer from the Diarrhoeal disease. In fact, the disorder is known to the largest cause of deaths in children as a result of malnourishment. When diagnosed with Diarrhoea, children are not given adequate food and water; subsequently, leading to their death.

Due to starvation, females and children belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes are known to die as well. Also, a considerable margin of Muslim children have stunted growth and are underweight. Even children having mental health problems are not given adequate care. Moreover, disabled children and HIV patients are stigmatised and are not able to avail health services.

Preventable Illnesses and Mortality

Additionally, the estimates suggest that around 2 million children in India die as a result of preventable illnesses. Measles is the largest cause of death among children in India under the category of preventable illnesses. The disorder can be prevented via vaccination measures. 

Credit: The Hans India
Credit: The Hans India

Nevertheless, several infant deaths occur due to Tetanus as well. In the Indian states such as West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Rajasthan, several infant deaths occur due to the illness.

Among all the countries in the world, India rates the poorest in child health estimates. In the country, three out of four children are diagnosed with Anaemia. The IMR statistics indicate that there are 63 deaths out of 1000 births where approximately 40% of the deaths take place within the first 7 days of delivery.

Poverty and Mortality

Out of the total expenses of health care, more than 80% are out of pocket. Due to poverty, many families are not able to afford the steep costs. Also, a large percentage of children remain malnourished. One out of three children in India is malnourished. Additionally, newborns are not fully immunised. As a result, the child mortality rates are high.

What Can be Done?

The first 6 years of life are critical as they lay the foundation for the overall growth of the individual. Child deaths can be prevented by giving the infants proper nourishment and caring for them during illnesses.

Breastfeeding is the first crucial step to ensuring good health in infants. Also, children having Diarrhoea must be given enough food and water for their treatment.

Child Healthcare in India

There is need to care for children as they represent a country’s future. For the development of a country, child health has a crucial role to play. Much needs to be done in the healthcare sector in India for bringing down the infant mortality rates. The responsibility lies with the Government to introduce healthcare measures for the benefit of the country’s children. Also, for the future development of India, giving adequate nourishment to children is important because the availability of human resource has a crucial role to play when it comes to the overall progress of any country.