Wed, 06 Apr 2011 14:17:50 GMT

India - a study in health contrasts

From becoming a hub of medical tourism to having a sizeable population deprived of basic healthcare, from bulging bellies in urban areas to stunted growth among kids across rural belts -- the country remains a study in health contrasts.India now stands at the cross-roads of improving health indicators and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

India - a study in health contrasts

"We are at a difficult time. While millions of children are dying due to hunger and malnourishment, lifestyle diseases are on the upswing among urban populace," said D.K. Gupta, president of the Federation of Association of Paediatric Surgeons in South Asia.
While states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa are leading victims of malnourishment, more literate and rich states like Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are going the obese way.

According to the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF), nearly 2.1 million children die every year in India before reaching their fifth birthday. This accounts for 20 per cent of children's death across the globe, which means one out of every five children dying is an Indian.

The maternal mortality and infant mortality rate in India is even worse than in Sri Lanka and Thailand. According to an official data, 254 women die per 100,000 live births in India. A World Bank report puts the figure at 450.

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