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MP worst in infant deaths chart again; lags far behind Ethiopia, other African countries

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Sravani Sarkar

Bhopal: The latest Sample Registration System (SRS) data has put Madhya Pradesh on mat again as far as child survival is considered, as the state has reported highest infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country for 12th consecutive year.

Shockingly, this situation in MP is far worse than some of the underdeveloped and deprived countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana and some of India’s smaller neighbours like Bangladesh and Nepal.

According to the SRS-2014 data released on June 15, Madhya Pradesh has IMR of 52 per 1000 live births, meaning 52 of every 1000 children are not able to survive till their first birthday. The data shows that MP is now the only state in India to have IMR of over 50.

Comparatively, for year 2014, Kenya had IMR of 37, Ethiopia – 43 and Ghana – 44. Bangladesh had IMR of 32 and Nepal – 31, according to report of World Bank.

IMR is considered one of the most important health and indicator for a state and high IMR reflects gaps in the health care and nutrition services system causing deaths of the most vulnerable of a state’s populace - the infants.

Though the IMR in MP has gone down by two points compared to SRS-2013, the point of concern that also underlines the laggard efforts of MP in improving the situation is that Assam that had IMR equal to MP (worst in country) in 2013 at 54/1000 live births, managed to reduce it by five points. In latest report, Assam has registered IMR of 49 – the second highest in country with Odisha.

Nutrition expert Sachin Jain says that the situation speaks clearly of the poor basic amenities and services in Madhya Pradesh. “It is plainly about lack of adequate food and drinking water, sanitation, health services and livelihood opportunities. Despite being placed at worst for over a decade in child survival scenario, there is no convergence in government efforts towards mitigating the situation. Departments still work in isolation with no focus on the issue at hand,” he said.

The SRS Bulletin 2014, released by office of Registrar General of India does not give out the national average of IMR this time. Also figures for only 11 larger state (excluding southern states like Kerala and Maharashtra), seven smaller north eastern states and five union territories have been released.


Scenario is worse in rural MP, where 57 out of every 1000 children born continue to die before age of one year compared to 35 in urban areas

As for girls, they continue to be far vulnerable, registering IMR of 53, against 51 of boys. IMR for rural girls is as high as 58 compared to 55 of boys.


The SRS 2014 data also shows that the state has the third highest birth rate (25.7/1000 population) behind UP (27) and Bihar (25.9) and the second highest death rate (7.8/1000 population) behind Odisha (7.9) in the country.

Birth and deaths rates are two other important health and development indicators that indicate the success of population control measures and the quality of health services available.

Photo courtesy: (C) Rakesh Malviya