According to a study published in the latest issue of The Lancet, India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under the age of five since 2005. It is stated to be possible because of the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles, and tetanus.
This study was implemented by the Registrar General of India and is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India. It has been conducted from 2000-2015 among randomly selected homes. It is conducted under the title ‘The Million Death Study.’
The study shows that — pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality fell by over 60%, mortality from birth-related breathing and trauma during delivery fell by 66%, and measles and tetanus mortality fell by 90%. The study states that mortality rate (deaths per 1000 live births) fell in neonates from 45 in 2000 to 27 in 2015 (3.3% annual decline) and 1-59-month mortality rate fell from 45.2 in 2000 to 19.6 in 2015 (5.4% annual decline).
“Million Death Study (MDS) is a project administered by Registrar General of India which comes under the Central home department. A MoU has been signed with the University of Toronto for this study. MDS provides an unbiased data of the causes of deaths. It is a prospective study. Through MDS data, cross verification of the death reasons and the numbers are also done. It helps in forming the government health policies,” said Dr Raju Jotkar, a research scientist in the project.