Effective public healthcare is a defining challenge for India. Since independence, India has made strides in many public health areas. The average life expectancy in India has increased and infant mortality rates (target group, 1-5 years old) have more than halved, from 1970 to 2015. Life expectancy of both sexes in India has increased to 66 years, surpassing countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Central African Republic. Yet much remains to be done in order to create a healthy, productive India. Malnourishment levels among Indian children are five more times than China and twice than children of Sub-Saharan Africa. More concretely, half of India’s children – approximately 60 million – are underweight, 45% are stunned (too short for their age), 20% are wasted (too thin for their height, indicating acute malnutrition), 75% are anemic and 57% are Vitamin A deficiency.
India’s maternal mortality rate remains high and communicable diseases–including tuberculosis and malaria–are on the rise. Rural clinics are often understaffed and grossly under-resourced. Frustratingly, many fatalities are preventable with basic care, such as child deaths resulting from diarrhea-related illnesses.
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