(Photo: G’nY Photo Bank)
New Delhi, January 27 (G’nY News Service): The first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reveals considerable decrement in infant mortality rate, maternal and child health. The Survey, which covered 13 states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal) and two Union Territories (Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry), however, reveals contradictory phenomena as regards nutritional levels, with widespread anemia on one hand as against increased obesity nationwide.
Infant mortality was found to have declined in all the states and union territories surveyed. Currently, infant mortality stands at below 51 deaths per 1,000 live births. Improved healthcare for mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, besides ante-natal care made available through service providers are responsible for this improved state of affairs.
Barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya, all other states were found to have achieved or maintained the replacement level of fertility by making the necessary family planning services available to the population. This has been a major achievement in the past decade.
However, full immunization levels among children of 12-23 months in age were found to differ widely across the states and union territories. At the least 6 out of 10 children had received full immunization in 12 of the 15 States/Union Territories surveyed, with noteworthy improvements seen in the States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, West Bengal and Meghalaya.
On the downside, only Meghalaya, Haryana, and West Bengal showed an increase in the use of modern family planning methods. In fact, the highest decline in family planning was reported in Goa, followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. According to Dr Faujdar Ram, Director, International Institute for Population Sciences, “An increase in education levels will help in understanding and implementing family planning”
Nutrition was found to have improved (since 2005-06) yet anaemia continued to be widespread. “This could be because of diet and food habits. Mothers while breastfeeding do not get supplementary iron and vitamins which could help in reducing anaemia”, adds Dr. Faujdar.
More than half the children in 10 of the 15 States/Union Territories were found to be anaemic. Notably, more than half the women in 11 States/Union Territories were found to be anaemic.
At the same time, rising obesity among adults posed a major health problem in many parts of the country. Every three out of 10 women were found to be overweight or obese in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu. According to Dr. Deogam, private practitioner, New Delhi, “the chief reason of obesity in today’s generation is overeating with a propensity to consume oily food regularly. Lopsided eating habit leads to an imbalance in vitamins and minerals which consequently leads to obesity “.
As can be seen from the report, in Bihar, the cases of obesity as well as stunted growth are widespread. “The reason behind this”, the doctor explains is, “large dependence on rice, basically carbohydrates, which in turn lead to low levels of vitamin B.”
The survey revealed that more than 50 per cent of the households surveyed had access to improved sanitation facilities, except for Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The prevalence of clean cooking fuel, was found to vary across the States/Union Territories, though. As against only 18 per cent households in Bihar using clean cooking fuel. More than 70 per cent households in Tamil Nadu and over 80 per cent households in Puducherry and Goa were found to opt for clean cooking fuel.