SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — More than one in five deaths of the world’s children under the age of five occur in India. More than half of these deaths are due to vaccine-preventable and treatable infections, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and sepsis.

“India’s infant mortality rate is 39, which means that an estimated 9.9 lakh babies die within one year of birth, mostly from preventable causes,” Union Health Minister JP Nadda told the Hindustan Times. “This is unacceptable. We have to save these newborns.”

In an effort to combat the nation’s high infant mortality rate, India have added four new vaccines to its flagship universal immunization program, and has committed to providing free vaccines to fight 10 life-threatening diseases to 27 million children. More than nine million immunizations will be administered to children in the country each year.

Unvaccinated children are about three to six times more at risk of dying before their fifth birthday, making vaccines the most cost-effective public health intervention to prevent disease. Immunization in India has helped to decrease the annual mortality rate among the country’s children under the age of 5 from 3.3 million a generation ago, to 1.3 million. That’s still 17,000 deaths per day. India still has the largest amount of unvaccinated children in the world, with nearly 9 million children not receiving all of the required vaccines, and 1.7 million not being vaccinated at all.

Until 2014, just 65 percent of the country’s children were fully immunized.

Immunization became a top priority for India’s NDA because of this, and Mission Indradhanush was launched in Dec. 2014 in order to fully immunize 90 percent of the country’s 26 million children that are born each year, and continue to provide immunization services to those children until they reach age five.

Four new vaccines have been added, including PCV vaccine, a vaccine against polio, rotavirus vaccine against diarrhea, rubella against measles, and the pneumococcal vaccine against pneumonia, which will be rolled out in February 2017.

“Reaching children is not impossible. India did it for polio and was certified polio free. India also reached its maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination targets in May 2015, well before the target date of December, 2015.This is a target we can reach ahead of deadline too,” Nadda said.