Save the Children

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Position Paper on Child Survival

1. INTRODUCTION

Save the Children is a child focused organisation that delivers immediate and lasting improvements in children's lives. The organisation is committed to improve the health status of children in India and protect them from exploitation, abuse and ill health. In the current context, Save the Children’s primary focus is on supporting the system in accelerating the progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4 aimed at one-third reduction in child mortality rates from 1990 level, by 2015.

Child Survival Situation in India

India is faced with an unparalleled child survival and health challenge. The country contributes 1.95 million of the global burden of 9.2 million under-five child
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During NFHS-2 (1998-1999), 47% of children under three were found to be underweight while 46% of children under three years of age being underweight, according to.[8]This means every second child under six years of age in India is underweight, a statistic worse than that in sub-Saharan Africa.

Almost half (48.4%) of all children under five are stunted (short for their age, an indicator of chronic malnutrition) while 20% of children are wasted (too thin for their height, an indicator of acute malnutrition). As much as 43% children are underweight for their age. Exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding of children which are identified as major determinants of child survival still remain significant challenges to be addressed. Only 69% of children less than two months of age are exclusively breastfed which drops to 51 percent at 2-3 months and 28 percent at 4-5 months of age. Overall, slightly less than half of the children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.[9] Only 53% children receive complementary foods between 6-8 months of age. Due to cultural beliefs and ingrained practices over ages, many mothers are still not able to follow appropriate infant feeding practices leading to increase in morbidity and mortality of children less than 5 years of age.

Over half of all women (56%) in India are anaemic as are 70% of children under the
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