Union Health Ministry on 28 February 2017 unveiled the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) in New Delhi. The survey conducted for the year 2015-16 says that India's health index has made a notable improvement over the last decade.
The survey is based on information collected from 6 lakh households, 1.3 lakh men and 7 lakh women. This is the first time that the data is providing district level estimates.
The report suggests that there has been a decline in the infant mortality and improvement was visible in the sex ratio with more institutional deliveries and wider vaccine coverage. The survey also says Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully immunised (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio).
This immunisation coverage has increased by 29 percentage points in Bihar, Punjab and Meghalaya, while it saw an increase by 28 percentage points in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The DPT has increased by 18 percentage points from 44 per cent in NFHS-3 to 62 per cent in NFHS-4.
Highlights of the National Family Health Survey-4
• Sex Ratio at birth: It improved from 912 to 919 females per 1000 males at the national level over the last decade. Kerala that has the highest sex ratio of at 1047 is followed by Meghalaya at 1009. Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.
• Infant Mortality Rate (IMR): It declined to 41 per 1000 from 51 per 1000 live births between NFHS-3 which was conducted in 2005-06. The report says that the IMR declined by more than 20 percentage points in West Bengal, Tripura, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh. IMR during the NFHS-1 (1992-93) was recorded as 79 per 1000 live births.
• Institutional Births: It increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7 per cent in NFHS-3 to 78.9 per cent in NFHS-4. It seems that the institutional births have dramatically increased due to the targeted approach through Janani Suraksha Yojana.
• Total Fertility Rate: Total Fertility Rate also declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3 with considerable decline in the TFR in each of the 30 states with the maximum decline observed in Uttar Pradesh at 1.1 child followed by Nagaland at 1.0 child, Bihar, however, failed to register substantial decline. Bihar, however, failed to register substantial decline.
• Underweight children: It saw a decline in percentage by 7 percentage points.
• Anemia: It saw a substantial decline among children aged 6 to 59 months as it declined to 58 per cent in NFHS-4 from 69 per cent of NFHS-3. Maximum decrease was seen in Assam (34 percentage points), Chhattisgarh (30 percentage points), Mizoram (26 percentage points) and Odisha (20 percentage points).
• Contraceptive prevalence rate: it increased by 7 percentage points to 54 per cent in NFHS-4 among the newly married women. Its rate in previous NFHS’s was 41 per cent in NFHS-1, 48 per cent in NFHS-2, 46 per cent in NFHS-3 (contraceptive prevalence rate decreased by 2 percentage points from NFHS-3).
Besides, the supplementary nutrition and efforts at the health facilities have helped in decreasing the cases of malnutrition. Mortality due to malnutrition has also seen the same trend.