What explains the decline in infant mortality in demographically underdeveloped states in India? The case of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
Infant mortality in demographically underdeveloped states in India and the country as a whole have shown sign of significant decline as evident from the recent data of National Family Health Survey-IV (2015-16) after a long period of persistently high infant mortality rate. This is also true for the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh which have the highest infant mortality rate both in NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4 (2015-16), the decline in infant mortality rates in both the states during 2005-06 to 2015-16 is noticeable. The present study endeavors to explore the factors which explain the decline in infant mortality in these two states. Findings from multiple regression and decomposition analysis attributes low birth weight, age of the mother at birth, mother’s educational attainment, mother’s use of cooking fuel and wealth status as the major contributing factors for the decline in infant mortality between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4. Infant mortality being high among the low birth weight infants, born to teen age and uneducated mothers and also among the infants of poor households. To speed up the pace of decline in infant mortality in the demographically underdeveloped states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, spreading awareness about consequences of child birth at young age among teen agers, post-natal care, educational development and increasing accessibility of health care services to poor are vital.
Keywords: Infant mortality, Demographically underdeveloped, Healthcare accessibility, Policy measures, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh