India tops world with most 1st-day deaths

London, May 8 : India tops the list of countries in the world with the most first-day deaths at 309,300 annually, according to "State of the World's Mothers 2013" report released on May 7 by London (UK) headquartered Save the Children International.

Nigeria trails behind India at second position in the world with only 89,700 first-day deaths. India's share of global first-day deaths is 29pc . In India, "economic growth has been impressive but the benefits have been shared unequally", report states.

The report notes that India has more maternal deaths than any other country in the world (56,000 per year).

"If all newborns in India experienced the same survival rates as newborns from the richest Indian families, nearly 360,000 more babies would survive each year," it adds.

In this report, India ranked 142 out of 176 countries in 2013 Mothers' Index Rankings in the world; even lower than Ethiopia, Pakistan, Burundi, Nepal, Bhutan, Iraq and Sri Lanka. In India, lifetime risk of maternal death is one among 170, under-5 mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 61.3 and only 10.9 pc seats are held by women in national government, report says.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that India needed to show commitment and strong political will to save lives of mothers and newborns.

India needed to urgently address gender inequality, strengthen its health system, take maternal and child health and well-being seriously, invest in its women and girls, and treat its children and mothers better, said Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.

He argued that although India was on track to become a global power, but its new power and prosperity had remained evasive for many, especially women. It was blight on a country, which prided itself on having joined the league of hottest growth economies.

Quoting scriptures, Zed pointed out that ancient Manusmriti said: "Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit."

Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of Hinduism) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as "mother of the gods", found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess. "We need to honor our mothers," Zed added.

Save the Children, whose history went back to 1919, claims to be "leading independent organization for children in need". Jasmine Whitbread is CEO while Charles Perrin is its Board Chair.

--IBNS (Posted on 08-05-2013)

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