May 26, 2018
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239,000 Girls in India die each year due to gender discrimination, study says

Vienna, May 15 (efe-epa).- Almost a quarter of a million girls under the age of five die each year in India because of limited access to food and medicine due to gender discrimination, the Austrian International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis said Tuesday in a statement.

Researchers estimate that an average of 239,000 girls die annually due to inadequate food and insufficient medical treatment, because of their gender, according to a study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet Global Health.

According to the study, many girls die due to "neglect" both within their families and in the context of medical treatment as well as due to poor nutrition.

The study says that "excess deaths of girls is partly a consequence of unwanted childbearing and ensuing neglect of female children."

In countries where no such gender bias exists, mortality rates for girls under five are lower than those for boys due to a natural biological advantage.

However, in India, more than 90 percent of districts have excess female mortality.

The investigators, who used the data of the 2000-2005 census, found "excess mortality" among girls less than five years across most of the country.

"Excess female U5MR was 18.5 per 1000 live births (95 percent) CI 13·1-22·6) in India 2000-2005, which corresponds to an estimated 239,000 excess deaths (169,000-293,000) per year" as compared to the expected mortality of girls under five in parts of the world without known gender discrimination, according to the study.

The problem is most pronounced in northern India, which comprises rural, agricultural districts characterized by low economic development, lower levels of education and high fertility.

In the four largest states of northern India - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - excess mortality among girls is higher than the average.

India, like China, is known to have a skewed sex ratio owing to the sex-selective abortions of girls.

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