Early Neonatal Mortality in India, 1990–2006

An Erratum to this article was published on 20 November 2012


The increased reach of health programs in India during the past few decades has contributed to a decline in postnatal mortality including infant and child mortality; however, reduction in neonatal mortality remained negligible. About seven out of ten neonatal deaths take place within a week after birth. The progress in reduction as well as dimension along which early neonatal mortality is patterned in India remains unclear. We examine the trend in early neonatal mortality and its possible demographic and socioeconomic predictors using nationally representative data. Data from the three cross-sectional rounds of the National Family Health Survey of India from 1992 to 1993, 1998 to 1999 and 2005 to 2006 were analyzed. Early neonatal mortality rate was estimated for selected demographic and socioeconomic population groups and for major states in India using information on births and deaths during the 3 years preceding the respective surveys. Using the multivariate logistic regression model, we assessed proximate determinants of early neonatal deaths during 1990–2006. Sex of the child, child’s birth size, birth order and interval, type of child’s birth, mother’s age at child’s birth, mother’s educational status, religion, household economic status and region of residence emerged as significant predictors of early neonatal deaths. The adjusted multivariate analysis indicates that majority of the socio-demographic predictors reveal a negligible decline in the probability of early neonatal deaths during 1990–2006. Moreover, based on comprehensive reviews of scientific literature on newborn’s survival we document some of the recommended ways to prevent early neonatal mortality in India.

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We express our gratitude to Prof. Sulabha Parasuraman, Former Head, Department of Population Policy and Programmes, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India and Dr. Ravi Prakash, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangaluru, India for their generous support during preparation of this paper.

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Correspondence to Chandan Kumar.

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Kumar, C., Singh, P.K., Rai, R.K. et al. Early Neonatal Mortality in India, 1990–2006. J Community Health 38, 120–130 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-012-9590-8

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  • Early neonatal mortality
  • Sample Registration System
  • National Family Health Survey
  • India