India: Gender bias kills over 200,000 girls each year, Lancet |
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India: Gender bias kills over 200,000 girls each year, Lancet
,  17 May 2018
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Apart from the rising number of female foeticide cases in India, more than 200,000 girls under the age of five die each year in the country, finds a Lancet study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Global Health, has found that there is on an average 239,000 excess deaths each year of girls under the age of five owing to neglect due to gender discrimination.

The numbers which are particularly higher in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are mostly due to unwanted child bearing and subsequent neglect.

For too long, the focus has been only on prenatal sex selection, said co-researcher Christophe Guilmoto from the Universite Paris Descartes in France.

“Gender-based discrimination towards girls doesn’t simply prevent them from being born, it may also precipitate the death of those who are born,” he said.

The figures which are around 2.4 million in a decade can only be checked with stress on female literacy and employment in modern industries, the researchers noted.

“Regional estimates of excess deaths of girls shows any intervention in the food and health care allocation should particularly target Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where poverty, low social development, and patriarchal institutions persist and investments on girls are limited,” said Nandita Saikia postdoctoral research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.

Excess female child mortality is also found in 90 per cent of the districts in the country.

In all, 29 out of 35 states in India had overall excess mortality in girls under five, and all states and territories bar two had at least one district with excess mortality.

The problem is most pronounced in northern India, — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — which account for two-thirds of the total excess deaths.

In Uttar Pradesh excess female mortality was calculated at 30.5 per cent, while in Bihar the rate is 28.5, in Rajasthan 25.4, and in Madhya Pradesh 22.1.

In parts of western Rajasthan and northern Bihar, excess mortality as a result of gender bias accounts for 30-50 per cent of the mortality rate of females under five.

Saikia noted that if there were no excess female deaths in India, the country could have achieved its Millennium Development Goal target on child mortality, of 42 deaths per 1,000 births, very easily.

The study “reinforces the need to address directly the issue of gender discrimination in addition to encouraging social and economic development for its benefits on Indian women,” she said.


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  • Dr Sudhakar Kancharla 24 May - 13:07 hrs

    government has to adapt female children from the parents who don,t want the female children

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  • Dr Swatantra Kumar 23 May - 10:37 hrs

    Sir as long as girl child is taken as a burden and a male as asset in the family there will always be discrimination. The education and social empowerment of females across all srata of society will help change the perception. Then only the gender bias will turn positive. Marrital expenses and the role of females in society will have to change so that girl child is taken as an asset. This only will bring about the attitudinal change.

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  • Dr Dr Jamuna Devi Gudidevuni 18 May - 17:36 hrs

    Education should be mandatory in all these areas for all Literacy will definitely bring down gender bias

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  • Dr Dr A V N GANGAPRASAD 17 May - 18:24 hrs

    On the same lines 5 star hotels should permit clients to get food from home or way side dhaba and eat in the comfort of 5 star hhotel. After all food has personal preferences more than medications. In the ssme breath the hospital should be spared of consequences if the drug purchased from wayside pharmacies turns out to be spurious and results in harm to the consumer. It is this arm chair consumer activists who have caused maximum damage to the physicians and patients in this country.

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