India has highest number of first-day deaths of newborns: ‘State of The World’s Mothers 2013

As per the latest ‘State of The World’s Mothers 2013’ report, India has more newborns death on the first day than in any other country. With this finding, India has gained notoriety for leading both maternal and new-born deaths globally. The report ranked 176 countries on maternal and child mortality

Key findings of the report:

In India, over 309,300 children (29% of global share) die on the first day because of complications related with preterm birth, hygiene and maternal health.

  • India ranks 142 among 176 countries.
  • Finland stands at the top position whereas the last rank to Democratic Republic of the Congo for maternal health and well-being.
  • China, despite being highly populated, ranks 4th and accounts for only 5% of the global share of first-day deaths.
  • 10 nations account for nearly two-thirds of all first-day deaths and most of these countries have very large populations like India, China and Indonesia.
  • Others high up on the list are Pakistan, Afghanistan and African nations like Nigeria and Ethiopia.
  • Developed countries fared well on the rankings with just 1% of the global first-day deaths and
  • US tops the list with least number of infants first-day deaths.
  • Health outlook is grim in South Asia because the region has only 14 doctors or nurses per 10,000 people.
  • Other reasons include pre-term deliveries, low birth weight (28% of babies in India are underweight) and stunting among women.
  • In Bangladesh, India and Nepal close to 13% of women are stunted and at a higher risk for complications of having smaller babies. In these countries, 20% to 40% of women are also very thin.
  • In India 47% girls marry by the age of 18, in Bangladesh child marriage and early childbearing is most prevalent with 66 % of young women getting married and 40% giving birth by before 18 years.
  • India is performing very poorly even in maternal health with 56,000 maternal deaths per year followed by Pakistan which has 12,000 maternal deaths every year.

What is Stunting and its complications?

  • Stunting refers to a height of less than 145 cm. Women who are stunted are at a higher risk for complications of having smaller babies.

What are the indicators used for developing the index this report?

The index for this ranking was developed on the basis of five indicators:

  1. Maternal health
  2. Children’s wellbeing
  3. Educational status
  4. Economic status
  5. Political status of women in their country

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India nominates 6 Rajasthan forts and Himalayan park for World Heritage Sites status

India has sent seven entries which include six hill forts in Rajasthan and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh to seek World Heritage Sites status given by UNESCO. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh next month will decide on giving the status to them.

Which are the nominations from India?

The nominations include six hill forts at:

  • Chittorgarh
  • Kumbhalgarh
  • Ranthambore
  • Gagron
  • Amber
  • Jaisalmer

What is special about them?

These are splendid examples of Rajput military architecture, which are found in palaces, temples, memorials and even in villages. Built between 13th and 19th centuries, these forts are unique to this region and creatively use the landscape to enhance protection.

The Great Himalayan National Park:

  • Spread over 75,400 hectares
  • Located on the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh.

Specialty: It is among the most scenic sites in the country and rich in biodiversity. It is home to 25 forest types, supports 805 kinds of plants and inhabits 31 species of mammals and 209 types of birds.

Note: Among the six nominated Rajasthan forts above, five were nominated last year too, but UNESCO rejected them. This year, the government included theJaisalmer fort, reworked the documents and re-nominated the five.

Uncertainty over Himalayan Park: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which evaluates nominations for natural sites, is unlikely to confer World Heritage Site status on the Himalayan Park. IUCN is unsatisfied over the delineation of the park and says it is disjointed. It recommended that the intervening land be added to the park to create a contiguous area. It also opined that the rights of local communities be accommodated and integrated in the management plan.

Which body evaluates the cultural properties for UNESCO?

  • The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) evaluates the cultural properties for UNESCO.

What is the current status of World Heritage Sites in India?

  • India, currently, has 29 World Heritage Sites — 23 cultural and 6 natural properties.

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