On Thursday the latest Pakistan Demographic Survey revealed that Pakistan’s infant mortality rate (IMR) has been declining over the last few years. While this is certainly an improvement, (the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age is 56, compared to 60 in 2018-19 and 62 in 2017-18) there is a big urban-rural gap in IMR.
Pakistan also recorded one of the highest fertility rates in South Asia — the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime was 3.7.
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The IMR of a country is an important marker of its health services, and socio-economic conditions. In rural areas the rate was 59 while urban areas recorded 50, which clearly indicates the better health and medical services available in cities.
When it comes to life expectancy – Pakistani females had a higher life expectancy than thier male counterparts. For males it was 64.5 and 65.5 for females, putting the average life expectancy at birth at 65 years.
The leading causes of death in 2020 were cardiovascular disease at 14.7 percent, followed by fever (9.3 percent), paralysis (stroke) (6.5pc), diabetes (5.6 percent,) cancer (5.5 percent), asthma 3.85 percent, respiratory diseases (3.64 percent), gastroenteritis with severe diarrhoea and vomiting (3.15 percent), and kidney disorder 2.77 percent.