Explanations for High Levels of Infant Mortality in Pakistan – A Dissenting View

Author: Akbar Zaidi
Publication Year : 1989

Over the years, as social scientists and economists have become critical of simply using the GNP per capita statistic as the major indicator for the level of development, especially in the case of underdeveloped countries, other more sensitive indicators, which reflect a broader range than does the GNP per capita, have begun to be preferred. One of the most important indicators to replace or supplement the GNP per capita concept is the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) statistic. The importance of this indicator as a reflector of the level of development is further enhanced when one considers the fact that it was one of the three indicators chosen by Morris (1979) for his monumental Physical Quality of Ufe Index. Thus, the careful observation over time of the IMR is an important, albeit still crude, sign for the way a country is progressing. And given this importance, it becomes one of the main targets which needs to be addressed by policy-makers. However, before one is able to implement measures that bring this rate down, i.e., pushing the ‘policy package’, it is necessary to study carefully the actual causes that result in the high rate. Seeking tlxplanations for a high level of infant mortality, thus, becomes an important objective. The paper by Sathar (1987) is an attempt to do so.

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