India had more deaths among children under five than any other country in 2015, with large disparities in the child mortality rate between richer and poorer states, a Lancet study has found.
The researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S analysed state-level Indian data on the causes of death among children under five for the years 2000-2015.
They found that India made great progress during the period, reducing annual mortality among children under five from 2.5 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2015 -- which was still the highest in the world.
However, among India's states, great disparities remained: The highest mortality rate in Assam was more than seven times that in Goa.
Although most under-five deaths were due to preterm complications, preventable infectious diseases featured prominently as causes of death in higher-mortality states.
"India can accelerate its reduction of under-five mortality rates by scaling up vaccine coverage and improving childbirth and neonatal care, especially in states where mortality rates remain high," said Li Liu, PhD, assistant professor at the Bloomberg School.
Using data sources from Indian government health surveys, the team assessed total mortality, mortality rates and causes of mortality for children under five in 25 states.
(with news agency inputs)