Thesis on Infant Mortality

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Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

Children are vital to the nation’s present and its future. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are usually committed to providing every advantage possible to the children in their families, and to ensuring that they are healthy and have the opportunities that they need to fulfill their potential. Yet communities vary considerably in their commitment to the collective health of children and in the resources that they make available to meet children’s needs. This is reflected in the ways in which communities address their collective commitment to children, specifically to their health. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on issues that affect children and on improving their health. Children are generally viewed as healthy when they are assessed by adult standards, and there has been a great deal of progress in reducing childhood death and diseases. Death is a certainty of life. Everyone who born alive has to die sooner or later while the first year of new life is the most important and vulnerable period for child. Infant mortality has traditionally been viewed as an indicator of the social and economic well-being of a society. It reflects not only the magnitude of those health problems which are directly responsible for the death of infants, such as diarrheal and respiratory infections and malnutrition, but the net effect of a multitude of other factors, including prenatal and postnatal care of mother and infant, and the environmental 2

conditions to which the infant is exposed. The high level of infant mortality is an indication of discouraging socio-economic development and along with the poor government commitment for improving health status of its nation. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 focuses on improving maternal health, with target 5 aiming to reduce the child and infant mortality ratio by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015. Like many developing countries Pakistan too, is facing with problems of high infant mortality especially, in the rural areas. So this study was focused to explore the determinants of infant mortality in the, “Warayamal”, a village of district Chakwal.

Infant mortality refers to deaths of children under the age of one year. It is measured by the infant mortality rate, which is the total number of deaths to children under the age of one year for every 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate is often broken down into two components relating to timing of death: neonatal and post neonatal. The neonatal mortality rate refers to the number of deaths to babies within 28 days after birth (per 1,000 live births). Sometimes a special type of neonatal mortality is assessed. The prenatal mortality rate measures the number of late fetal deaths (at or after 28 weeks gestation) and deaths within the first 7 days after birth per 1,000 live births. The post neonatal mortality rate involves the number of deaths to babies from 28 days to the end of the first year per 1,000 live births. The distinction between neonatal (and prenatal) and post neonatal mortality 3

is important because the risk of death is higher close to the delivery date and the causes of death near the time of birth/delivery are quite different from those later in infancy. Therefore, effective interventions to reduce infant mortality need to take into account the distribution of ages at death of infants (Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, 2010).

Every day, 1500 women die in pregnancy or due to childbirth related complications worldwide. Two thirds of all maternal deaths in Asia and the Pacific occur in India (540 deaths per 100,000 live births) and Pakistan (500). Every year about 11 million children die, of which 10 million are in the developing world. South Asia is the continent where world’s poorest population is habituating. It’s social and economic indicators stand out in terms of the number...
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