Neonatal Mortality In India: Magnitude, Causes And Recommendations

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Neonatal Mortality in India: Magnitude, Causes and Recommendations


The first 28 days of life, referred to as the “neonatal period," is the most crucial time period for determining whether or not a newborn baby will survive and continue through his/her development. Additionally, this period also serves as a good indicator of both maternal and newborn health and accessibility of care. The highest rates of neonatal mortality are in developing countries where there is limited access to health care, widespread poverty, and low levels of education. At the present, neonatal deaths are subdivided into two categories. Early neonatal deaths are those that occur during the first seven days of life and represent 75 percent of neonatal mortality while late neonatal deaths occur from seven days to 28 days of life. (Akerlof 1998 Pp. 287-309)

However rise in the rate of mortality has been witnessed in developing countries due to lack of education and health facilities. In this study, the neonatal health situation of India would be discussed as India is a developing country and is ranked second in the list of most populous countries. The rate of neonatal mortality in India is high as most of the population lived in rural areas and health care facilities are not appropriate in most of rural health center of India. (Bhargava 2003, Pp. 225-240)

Neonatal mortality is a critical global health problem and there is great disparity between developing and developed countries. Data have found that roughly 98 percent of neonatal deaths occur in developing countries. Additionally, the risk of neonatal death is found to be nearly six times higher in developing countries as compare to developed countries. (Bhargava 2003, Pp. 225-240)

Although the average global neonatal mortality rate is currently listed at 30 deaths per 1,000 live births, estimates show that there is a vast difference between neonatal mortality rates in Europe and North America with those rates in Asia and Africa. The highest rates of neonatal death in 2004 were reported in South Asia. Currently in South Asia India has the highest number of neonatal deaths among the world's regions. Unfortunately, neither neonatal nor overall infant mortality in Asian countries can be reduced without improved global attention and focused interventions. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the public health challenges involving neonatal health in India, to chronicle some recent efforts to combat the problem, and to propose some simple solutions based on social marketing and management concepts. (Zubairu, Mairo, and Aliyu 2004, Pp. 83-87 & Akerlof 1998 Pp. 287-309)

Neonatal Health Situation in India

Southern Asia is a major contributor to global neonatal deaths. Research shows that three-fourths of the four million neonatal deaths occur in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. More extensive research shows that neonatal mortality ranged from 41 to 56 deaths per 1,000 live births in South Asia. In addition, these neonatal mortality rates are 19-44 percent higher among the poorest families in this region. (Wooldridge 2000, Pp. 245-250)

Unfortunately, poor socioeconomic status of developing countries adversely affects maternal-child health because it limits access ...
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