It’s official – more infants die in Madhya Pradesh that any other state in India. While recording an overall drop in its infant mortality rate numbers (IMR), the state still holds the dubious distinction of having the highest mortality rate among India’s 29 states and six union territories.
Infant mortality rate is the number of infants (per 1000 births) succumbing before attaining the age of one year and is a major health and development indicator for a state. A high IMR reflects pitfalls in the healthcare and nutrition services. The latest data by the SRS (Sample Registration System) in the year 2011, released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), showed that the IMR in the state has dropped to 59. This is still two points lower than the second worst performers like Odisha and UP that have an IMR of 57.
The situation is grave in rural MP, where about 63 out of every 1000 births die before the age of one. Comparatively, the average IMR for the country is 54 per thousand live births, a three-point drop again from the IMR of 2010 (57). The rural IMR all over India is 48, with the best performers being small states such as Goa and Manipur with just 11 deaths per 1000 births. MP has been carrying the infamous tag of having the worst IMR in the country from the past eight years, ever since Odisha managed to lower its mortality rates in 2004.
According to SRS data the state continues to have the highest birth rates and the second highest death rates in the country. Birth rates and death rates are important indicators that reflect the success of population control measures and quality of health services available.