Early childhood mortality in India has steadily decreased in recent years; yet the country still records an extremely high number of deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia, two preventable illnesses. This is due in part to a health system that is poorly equipped to provide quality care for these diseases, with shortages in essential medical equipment, insufficient numbers of trained pediatricians, and gaps in the case management knowledge and skills of frontline health workers.
In 2016 alone, it was estimated that diarrhea and pneumonia killed one child every two minutes in India, or nearly 261,000 children that year. And even when children survive, these illnesses can leave them with long-term health problems. These bleak numbers have challenged experts with the question, what can be done?
Quantitative and qualitative findings from the Research and Evaluation for Action in Child Health (REACH) project, implemented by RTI in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have yielded some answers to this question outlined in a new series of policy briefs. Here are some of our top recommendations based on those findings.