Socioeconomic and geographical disparities in under-five and neonatal mortality in Uttar Pradesh, India

Zoe Dettrick, Eliana Jimenez-Soto, Andrew Hodge
Maternal and Child Health Journal 2014, 18 (4): 960-9
As a part of the Millennium Development Goals, India seeks to substantially reduce its burden of childhood mortality. The success or failure of this goal may depend on outcomes within India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. This study examines the level of disparities in under-five and neonatal mortality across a range of equity markers within the state. Estimates of under-five and neonatal mortality rates were computed using five datasets, from three available sources: sample registration system, summary birth histories in surveys, and complete birth histories. Disparities were evaluated via comparisons of mortality rates by rural-urban location, ethnicity, wealth, and districts. While Uttar Pradesh has experienced declines in both rates of under-five (162-108 per 1,000 live births) and neonatal (76-49 per 1,000 live births) mortality, the rate of decline has been slow (averaging 2 % per annum). Mortality trends in rural and urban areas are showing signs of convergence, largely due to the much slower rate of change in urban areas. While the gap between rich and poor households has decreased in both urban and rural areas, trends suggest that differences in mortality will remain. Caste-related disparities remain high and show no signs of diminishing. Of concern are also the signs of stagnation in mortality amongst groups with greater ability to access services, such as the urban middle class. Notwithstanding the slow but steady reduction of absolute levels of childhood mortality within Uttar Pradesh, the distribution of the mortality by sub-state populations remains unequal. Future progress may require significant investment in quality of care provided to all sections of the community.

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