Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mortality rate: Child born in Andhra Pradesh is expected to live 10 years shorter than a child born in Kerala

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 27: A child born in Andhra Pradesh is expected to live 10 years shorter than a child born in Kerala, if the official statistics on average life expectancy at birth is any indication.

Andhra Pradesh has the lowest life expectancy at birth among all the four Southern States in the country, though its figures are slightly better than the national average. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its latest report, has pointed out that a child born in Andhra Pradesh has a life expectancy of 64.4 years, against Kerala's 74. The other southern States, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, are slightly ahead of AP with 66.2 years and 65.3 years respectively.

Kerala had achieved AP's life expectancy levels almost three decades ago. Kerala's life expectancy levels are poised to grow further in the next 10 years to 77 years.

"Life expectancy in the country doubled in the last 50 years. A child born in India before Independence was expected to live for just 30 years. It increased to 45 years in the 1960s and now to around 64 years. With improvement in health and living standards, the life expectancy is likely to cross 80 years in India by 2050," said senior geneticist Dr MN Khaja.

According to the MoHFW report, although the decadal increase in the country has slowed from 5.7 years in the 1970s to 3.2 years in the 1990s, the overall life expectancy increased by 14.1 years in the rural areas and 9.9 years in the urban areas during the period 1970-
75 to 2002-06. It is projected to increase by four to five years by 2021. Senior physicist Dr Mani Bhaumik predicts that in the next 50 to 80 years, man will achieve longevity with the average life expectancy crossing 100 years.

Though Andhra Pradesh has to go a long way on the life expectancy front, it has already reached the national goal of total fertility rate. It has a total fertility rate of 2.1 per cent which indicates population stabilisation. Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal share the TFR honours with Andhra Pradesh.