With 30 deaths per 1,000 live births between 2010 and 2012, Delhi has the highest infant mortality rate among the four metros and Chennai recorded the lowest at 15 deaths per 1,000 live births, says a report released by NGO Save the Children.
The report suggested that infant mortality rate (IMR) has decreased to 25 per 1,000 live births in the past months, the reduction in neo-natal mortality rate (NMR) has not been so good.
India's poor figure of first day deaths of newborns is also posing a hurdle in achieving Millennium Development Goal- 4, which aims at reducing IMR. Nearly 40 per cent of neo-natal deaths take place on the first day of birth. India's contribution in global deaths of newborns is 29 per cent. The global figure can also come down if mother and child get access to quality health care services.
To attain the UN's Development Goal, India is also aiming to decrease children under-five mortality rate to 42 per every thousand live births in 2015.
"As per the 2012 figure, the under-five mortality is 52 per 1,000 live births. So it looks hopeful that by 2015, we will be able to reach the set target of MDG," said Anuradha Gupta, joint secretary in the ministry of health. In 1990, the under-five mortality in India was 114 per 1,000 live births.
Another area of concern is death of newborns within the first 28 days of birth. The report says that in 2012, 3 million babies died within the first 28 days of their birth and 1 million babies died within the first 24 hours of their birth.
According to the report, interventions to reduce newborn mortality were needed and morbidity due to pre-term births could be improved by providing training to health workers.
"Unless we urgently start to tackle deaths among newborns, there is a real danger that progress in reducing child deaths could stall and we will fail in our ambition to be the generation that can end all preventable child deaths," said Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy.