*Image credit UNICEF

As per reports by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF),more children under the age of five die in India than anywhere else in the world. Every year 6,60,000 babies die in India within the first 28 days of their birth due to preventable causes.

About 1.15 million children die every year before they can even reach their 5th birthday.

UNICEF's study has identified two diseases namely pneumonia and diarrhea responsible for most number of child deaths worldwide.

India stands out for the prevalence of diarrhea as a killer of infants. Diarrhea was responsible for 13% of child deaths in India in 2010.

Associated with poor sanitation, malnutrition and lack of access to basic healthcare services, diarrhea is an easily preventable disease that strikes mainly the poor.

Washing hands with soap, clean drinking water and putting an end to open defecation –  which the report found is a major cause of diarrhea in South Asia –  are easy preventative measures.

As the lead technical partner in the country for Newborn and Child Health, UNICEF has been involved from the beginning of the Integrated Management of Newborn and Childhood Illness (IMNCI) programme in India. It has also played a key role in strengthening Facility Based Newborn Care (FBNC) in the country in line with increasing institutional delivery, scaling up the model of Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs).

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