High-risk births in India

High-risk births in India

High-Risk Births in India

Short birth intervals and the death of older siblings are the most important mortality risks for young children in India, according to a study based on data from the National Family Health Survey.1 In hazard regression analyses that adjusted for socioeconomic and demographic factors, infants born within 24 months of their next older sibling were more than twice as likely as other infants to die before their first birthday and 67% more likely to die between the ages of one and five. In families in which an older child had died, infants were 71% more likely than those in other families to die before their first birthday; mortality was concentrated in the first month after birth, when the risk of death was 85% higher. Between ages one and five, children with a deceased older sibling were 31% more likely to die than were other children. The investigators conclude that because so many children in India are born less than 24 months after a previous birth, “the provision of temporary contraceptive methods to help ensure that births are spaced at least 24 months apart would greatly improve the survival chances of children.”

1. Choe MK et al., Identifying children with high mortality risk, National Family Health Survey Bulletin, 1999, No. 12.

Copyright Alan Guttmacher Institute Sep 1999

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