14/08/2017 10:22 AM IST | Updated 14/08/2017 11:34 AM IST

If Gorakhpur Were A Country It Would Be Among The Nations With The Highest Death Rates For Infants

In the same league as Gambia, South Sudan and Zambia.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

If Gorakhpur were a country then it would be among the 20 nations with the highest infant mortality rates in the world, in the same league as Gambia, South Sudan and Zambia.

Citing data from the health department, The Times of Indiareported today that 62 out of 1,000 children born in Gorakhpur die before turning one, far worse than India's infant mortality rate of 40 out of 1,000.

The eastern district of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has come under the scanner following the death of over 60 children due to the gross negligence at a government hospital. What has made it worse for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is that Gorakhpur happens to be the constituency that he represented for twenty years in Parliament.

During the five terms that he was the lawmaker from Gorakhpur, Adityanath had repeatedly flagged the disease of encephalitis, which kills thousands of children in eastern UP. What the tragedy at the BRD Medical College has brought to light is just how grim the infant mortality figures are in Gorakhpur.

According to the infant mortality rate of countries collated by the CIA, Gorakhpur would take the 18th spot with Gambia in West Africa (62 out of 1000). India comes in 49th (40 out of 1000). The countries with the highest IMR are Afghanistan (112.80 out of 1000), Mali (100 out of 1000) and Somalia (96 out of 1000).

Gorakhpur also has a dismal under-5 mortality rate. TOI reported today that 76 out of 1000 children die before turning five, far worse than the country (50 out of 1000).

Uttar Pradesh's IMR (64 out of 1000) and its under-5 mortality rate (78 out of 1000) are presently the worst in the country.

Health experts attributed the high IMR to factors such as "malnutrition, incomplete immunization, open defecation and unsafe drinking water." Malnutrition and incomplete immunization also place children at greater risk of contracting encephalitis. Over 35 percent of children in Gorakhpur are underweight and 42 percent of them are stunted, according to the fourth National family health survey figures.

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