Communicable diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis accounted for over 46 per cent of preventable deaths in children aged 5-14 years in 2016, finds a study.
In 2016, India had about 74,000 preventable or treatable deaths from communicable diseases, representing nearly half of all the annual deaths and over a third of all deaths in the four developing countries — India, China, Brazil and Mexico — in children aged 5-14 years.
In India, death rates from these communicable diseases as well as vaccine-preventable diseases were nearly 20 times higher than in China, and 10 times higher than in Brazil and Mexico, showed the findings published in The Lancet journal.
“Most of these deaths are avoidable and for those caused by medical conditions, many of them are treatable,” said Prabhat Jha, Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
“Death in children aged 5-14 should be rare around the world. With cost-effective, feasible and affordable interventions, substantial declines in deaths in this age group are possible,” Jha said.
The study examined data on around 2.5 lakh deaths in children aged 5-14 years from 2005 to 2016 in India, China, Brazil and Mexico. These countries are home to about 40 per cent of the world’s children aged 5-14 years and experience more than two lakh deaths annually at these ages.
Marked declines in the communicable disease mortality among girls narrowed the gap with boys in India and China.
However, mortality rates for non-communicable diseases and injury were found to be still higher in India than in China, Mexico, and Brazil.
In contrast with Mexico and Brazil, a majority of road fatalities in both India and China were among pedestrians.
Despite regional differences, the common leading causes of death in all four countries include, road accidents, drowning, cancers and neurological diseases, researchers said.