This might not be a moment of pride for India when its capital city has a much higher IMR than some of the other even larger states. According to an article in the Times of India last Sunday, Delhi has the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) among all the metros and at the current sluggish pace at which the figure is being reduced the capital would achieve its goal of reaching an IMR of 15 only in 2030. The good news however, is that the utilization of public health facilities is over 60%, much higher than in most states.
The Delhi Human Development Report (DHDR) 2013 pointed out that much larger states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had achieved IMRs of 25 and 22 respectively despite having substantial rural populations, higher levels of poverty and a less intensive network of public health infrastructure. In the Delhi Development Goals set in 2006, the target was to achieve an IMR of 15 by 2015.
Despite substantial expansion of public health facilities in Delhi, the public health system is still hobbled by the lack of adequate facilities at the primary level and skewed distribution and shortage of health personnel . Yet, the Perception Survey carried out for the DHDR revealed some interesting facts that across different socio-economic groups a large chunk used the public health system, the proportion varying from over 75% in low income groups to 45% in high income groups.
To read more on this survey and this story, click here.