Karnataka achieves Sustainable Development Goal target of less than 25 in under-five mortality rate

Neonatal Mortality Rate and Infant Mortality Rate have also fallen by two points each in Karnataka

Neonatal Mortality Rate and Infant Mortality Rate have also fallen by two points each in Karnataka

Karnataka has recorded a five-point decline in under-five mortality rate (U5MR), from 26 per 1,000 live births in 2019 to 21 in 2020. With this, Karnataka is among 11 states that have attained the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-3 ) target of less than 25 in this prominent child health indicator.

Infectious diseases, including pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, along with preterm birth complications, birth asphyxia, trauma and congenital anomalies remain the leading causes of death for children under five.

According to data from the Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin for 2020 released on Friday, U5MR varies from 18 in rural areas to 17 in urban areas in Karnataka.

The SRS taken up by the Office of the Registrar General of India is a large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate, and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and regional level.

At the national level, U5MR is estimated at 32 and it varies from 36 in rural areas to 21 in urban areas. Among the bigger states/UTs, it varies from 8 in Kerala to 51 in Madhya Pradesh. On an average, the under-five mortality rates of female children are higher than that of male except in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Neonatal Mortality Rate

Similarly, Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) have also fallen by two points each. While NMR has declined from 16 in 2019 to 14 in 2020, IMR has dropped from 21 in 2019 to 19 in 2020.

While NMR refers to the number of deaths of infants aged 0–27 days per 1,000 live births, IMR refers to the number of deaths under one year per 1,000 live births.

At the national level, the NMR is 20 and ranges from 12 in urban areas to 23 in rural areas. Among the bigger States/UTs, neonatal mortality ranges from 4 in Kerala to 31 in Madhya Pradesh.

A matter of concern is that rural areas continue to report a higher number of infant deaths compared to urban areas. Also, the death rate is high in female babies. While 21 infant deaths per 1,000 live births are reported in rural areas in the State in 2020, the rate is 16 in urban areas.

SDG-3 goals

Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), said the State is on the way towards achieving SDG-3 target of less than 12 for NMR too. “This should be done by 2030 but we are hoping to achieve this in a year,” she said.

Pointing out that Karnataka’s Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) services have improved a lot, she said; “We are asserting on LaQshya certification – aimed at improving quality of labor and operation theater services thereby contributing to reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality – for all hospitals. We may have slipped during the COVID pandemic (this data is till the first year of the pandemic) but we are gearing up to further improve our RCH services at sub-centre level too.”


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