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Why India Should Care about the Survival of Its Girl Children

One of every four deaths that occurred in children of less than 5 years of age was due to pneumonia and diarrhea globally in 2016.

Updated:August 27, 2019, 4:19 PM IST
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Why India Should Care about the Survival of Its Girl Children
One of every four deaths that occurred in children of less than 5 years of age was due to pneumonia and diarrhea globally in 2016.
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For every 100 boys who get immunised there are only 78 baby girls who receive proper vaccination in some parts of Delhi. And so is the case with India as a whole. There is a lower coverage of girl babies in most rural and relatively poorer urban areas.

Moreover, one of every four deaths that occurred in children of less than 5 years of age was due to pneumonia and diarrhea globally in 2016. India topped the list with the most number of casualties with 2,60,990 deaths. So here’s what we can do to ensure our kids stay protected from diseases like these.

Exclusive breastfeeding

Vaccination

Access to quality healthcare

Access to antibiotics

Oral rehydration solution

Zinc supplementation

Even though we need a lot of work when it comes to caring for the girl child and female infanticide, some progress has still been made. For instance, the median age at first childbirth has increased by 1.3 years over the last decade with as many as 74.5 percent of Indian women now involved in decisions about their own health - a marked increase from 62.3 percent in 2005-06. Educating girl children today means as future mothers, they are more likely to be aware of the benefits of vaccination or trust medical staff and practices. Educated girls are more likely to marry later, insist on better childbirth practises and more likely to send stand up for their daughters and women in the community. But how do we keep girl children from the poorest parts of the nation in school right now? One of the simplest and most effective ways is Immunisation.

Photo by Nikhita S on Unsplash

As mentioned earlier, while on a world scale, there is no significant gap in terms of immunisation coverage, in poorer parts of India, boys still get many advantages. This means they often get a better education and healthcare compared to girls in their own families. Research has shown that healthy children translated to better school attendance. Areas that don’t evolve to following a vaccination schedule from early childhood suffer greatly, especially once girls hit puberty and can contract infections and diseases. Many of these are vaccine-preventable. Following a proper immunisation schedule can help bridge the gender-education gap as well as help the country’s struggling girl child ratio.

As long as the girl child is stigmatised in India, selective immunisation, female infanticide, sex-selective abortions and other atrocities against them will continue. Change is only possible when everyone works together to secure the future of the Indian girl child in their homes and their communities, especially in economically-backward regions across India.

This is a partnered post.

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