In the face of the recent death of over 100 children in Kota, Shankkar Aiyar comments on India's infant mortality rate and the inadequate attention given to the healthcare infrastruture. Excerpts below:
"What is chilling is that infant deaths seem to be par for the course at the hospital. What raised the alarm is the quantum of deaths, 10 children in 48 hours. It is a testimony to the state of apathy that over 1,000 children died every year in the past six years in the hospital. Indeed, the state government claimed that the death toll was the lowest since 2011. Of such small mercies rests political claims of good governance in India."
On the state of India's healthcare infrastructure:
"Better nutrition does help. But more needs to be done. Improving child care and fixing infant mortality demands an alignment of public policy. There is a correlation between the environment and mortality. Availability and quality of water matters — and yet over 1.5 Anganwadi centres, the contact point for healthcare, do not have drinking water supplies.
Over 17 per cent of the deaths are caused by pneumonia, 9 per cent by diarrhoea and around 5 per cent by bacterial infections. Over 3.6 lakh Anganwadi centres lack toilets in the country despite the fact that a big cause of deaths is poor sanitation and waste management."
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