THIS research study carried out in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Haryana is based on personal interviews and discussions with social workers, NGOs, village women, young mothers, traditional dais, anganwadi workers, self-help groups and others to find out what new could be done to supplement the existing schemes and programmes for reducing and reversing the existing trend in infant and maternal mortality.
Infant mortality is the indicator of the health status not only of infants but of the entire population and of their poverty-ridden social and economic status in the country. Infant mortality, that is, deaths of children under one year of age in a year per 1,000 live births, is an important indicator of child health and development. Reduction in infant and child mortality rate was declared as the major objective for achieving under the Health for All Programme 2000. Subsequently the need to bring infant mortality to less than 230 per 1,000 live births by the year 2010 was stressed. In 2005-2006, infant mortality rate fell to 59 per 1,000 but now it seems to have slowed down. On exploring the cause for it, it has been found that besides medico-clinical causes, socio-economic factors like household income, female education, access to health services and immunisation programmes are important determinants in assessing infant mortality.
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