Shortage of health workers increases child deaths: NGOSeptember 20th, 2011 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Facing a shortage of 2.6 million health workers, millions of children below the age of five in India are at risk of dying every year from easily preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea, an international NGO said Tuesday.
“The dearth means that millions of children below the age of five are at great risk of dying every year from easily preventable diseases such as pneumonia,” Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said in its health report.
“India has the highest number of children under five dying every year,” he added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children are five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday if they live in India as the country falls below the WHO health worker threshhold (2.3 health workers per 1,000 people).
The health report stated that close to 1.2 million children under the age of one die every year of largely treatable and even preventable diseases and conditions in India.
“It is simply not acceptable for a child to die because a midwife or a nurse is out of reach. Training health workers is simple and inexpensive, yet their impact is immeasurable,” Chandy said.
The health report also showcases that over 55 percent children under the age of two do not receive comprehensive routine immunisation in India. About 2.7 million children under the age of five die as they don’t have treatment for diarrhoea.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently admitted that the low doctor to nurse ratio in the country was a cause of concern and must be checked immediately.
“There are 11.28 lakh registered nurses in the country and we need nine lakh more to bridge the gap. Therefore, 269 new nursing schools will come up soon especially in remote and backward areas,” he said, adding that around 22,000 nurses would be trained at these schools annually.
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Tags: chandy, child deaths, dearth, diarrhoea, diseases and conditions, fifth birthday, ghulam nabi azad, health minister, health report, health worker, health workers, immunisation, international ngo, midwife, nursing schools, pneumonia, preventable diseases, registered nurses, threshhold, world health organisation