India has made considerable progress in reducing infant and maternal mortality rate in recent years, but more than 55 per cent children under the age of two still do not receive comprehensive routine immunisation in the country, a new research has claimed.
According to the report, among 25 developing countries, India has the highest number of children who do not receive even the most basic of healthcare services.
Approximately 2.7 million children under the age of five receive no treatment for diarrhoea, which is a major killer of children, said the report.
The report comes after the latest Sample Registration Data which claimed India has impressively brought down its maternal and infant mortality rates and was close to achieving the UN millennium development goals (MDGs).
According to the data, the maternal mortality ratio, number of women dying per 100,000 live births, has come down to 212 (2007-09) from 254 in 2004-06, while infant mortality rate, the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births, has registered a three point decline from 53 in 2008 to 50.
The latest SRS data shows that infant mortality has declined to 50 per 1000 which is good but this obscures the larger picture.
The existence of healthcare deserts shows that efforts to reduce child mortality are still sidelining the poorest children and this denial of basic healthcare is leaving them vulnerable to fatal conditions.
According to the report, over 40 million children worldwide are living in "healthcare deserts" without receiving the most basic of healthcare services, including routine immunisation.
Ironically, in cities like Delhi, large pockets can be classified as healthcare deserts where no primary health care is available for the urban poor.