India said that it will meet the millennium development goals by 2015. Various UN bodies had questioned the country’s ability to do so. In a letter to WHO representative to India Neta Menabde, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry has said that India has so far brought a marked decline in both the Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and thus will be able to achieve the MDG targets on these fronts.
Certain UN bodies, including WHO, had expressed the fear that India may miss the MDG targets with regard to child and maternal health, going by the slow progress in this direction.
The Ministry claimed that as per estimates available from the office of Registrar General of India, the U5MR for 2008, 2009 and 2010 has been 69, 64 and 59 per 1,000 live births respectively, registering an annual decline of 7.2 per cent during 2008-09 and 7.8 per cent during 2009-10.
It said that if this decline continues with improved health systems and effective implementation of evidence based interventions, the rate of decline should actually continue to improve further. “India will reach the U5MR of 39 per 1000 live births by 2015, almost achieving the MDG4 target,” Manoj Jhalani, joint secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
With regard to MMR, he said that India will also achieve the MDG target of bringing it down below 150 per 100,000 live births. “In fact a reduction of 388 points (about 86 per cent) has already been achieved by 2008 against the required reduction of 450 points by 2015,” Jhalani said in his letter to WHO.