India’s Million Death Study

  • India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles and tetanus, according to a study published in the latest issue of The Lancet journal.
  • The ‘India’s Million Death Study’, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000-15 among randomly selected homes.
  • This is a direct study based on face-to-face interviews with families, and is not based on modelling or projections from small samples.

The study illustrates that the conditions prioritised under the National Health Mission had the greatest declines.

  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea mortality fell by over 60% (most of the decline due to effective treatment),
  • Mortality from birth-related breathing and trauma during delivery fell by 66% (most of the decline due to more births occurring in hospital), and
  • Measles and tetanus mortality fell by 90% (mostly due to special immunization campaigns against each).


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