While the governments of the day are vigorously pushing the women empowerment schemes, an RTI reply has found that the city witnessed more female child deaths in 2021 as compared to male kids in the age group from 1-5 years.
In another worrying trend, child deaths increased last year as compared to the 2020 figure.
According to the BMC data provided to the RTI applicant Chetan Kothari, 791 kids in the said age group died in 2019. The dismal figures fell sharply by around 40 per cent to 473 in 2020 but again rose to 679 deaths the next year.
Till 2021, the female child deaths didn't surpass male ones and were less than 45 per cent of the total deaths. Of 679 fatalities last year, 345 were girl children and the rest 334 were males.
In 2020, 208 female children died while other 265 were males. In 2019, the figures were 349 for girls and 442 for boys.
In its August 4 edition, The FPJ had reported that most of the total child deaths were concentrated in just five wards, including the areas of Byculla, Parel, Sion, Chembur and Andheri. These places are also the addresses of prominent hospitals like J J, King Edward Memorial and Wadia, Sion, and Cooper hospitals.
As per the data, 68 per cent of deaths took place in the above five wards in 2019. Years 2020 and 2021 were no different. They saw 74 per cent and 67 per cent of the total deaths, respectively.
Explaining the reason for the prevalence of child deaths in these wards, BMC deputy health officer said, “The deaths are more there (in these wards) because these are the locations of the prominent hospitals. Hence, more deaths get registered in these places as compared to the other areas.”
When BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare was queried about the pressing issue, she asked to send a questionnaire, to which she hasn't replied yet. Whereas, RTI applicant Kothari said, “They (civic body) must be taking care but the rise in child deaths is a matter of concern.”