Infant Mortality Rate in India- Falling but not fast enough

As India continues to grapple with the challenge of providing healthcare to a Bullion plus people, it continues to struggle with some basic indicators of good health. In 2013 I had covered the challenges with some of our healthcare parameters that were than some of our neighbors.

Some time ago India had signed up for a millennial goal of reducing infant mortality from 88 per 1000 live births to 29 per 1000 live births by 2015. India’s IMM today stands at 41.81.  The Sample Registration System 2014 report released last week, shows dismal performance by the larger states. Only states doing well and meeting the parameters are some of the smaller states. Tripura, Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland seem to be withing the guideline.


The worst offenders continue to be the states in the north, with Madhya Pradesh leading at 52. They were closely followed by Assam and Odhisha at 49 each.  Uttar Pradesh closely follows them at 48 followed by Chhattisgahr and Bihar. The combined population of these sates is more than the western world put together and somehow any healthcare policy to succeed in India these states would have to improve.

This is just a provisional report and the full report would be released later. It would be interesting to see the performance of the south Indian states on this parameter. I am assuming that Kerala and Tamilnadu would do well as usual, but the performance of Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would be interesting.

Interestingly the mortality was higher among the girl infants as compared to the boys. This is a good indicator that there is a social angle to this parameter as well. Also isuues like nutrition and maternal health are important factors in meeting this goal. Infant Mortality Rate is considered a good indicator of the success or failure of national health policy and measures the number of deaths of infants as a measure of live births. The infants measured as part of the measure have to be under 1 year. Singapore leads the world with a IMM of 2.49.

We have a long way to go in meeting the goal of 29 per 1000 live berths. I will wait for the release of the rest of the data to provide an update to this post, but so far the situation is grim and not very encouraging.

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

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