India sees Improved Sex Ratio & Decline in Infant Mortality Rate: National Family Health Survey
- A latest survey by the government has shown positive trends in key health indicators, including an improvement in sex ratio at birth and a decline in infant mortality rate during 2015-16.
- The National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) for 2015-16 unveiled by the Health Ministry was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men, and for the first time provide district level estimates.
- "Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4. IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade. It dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha.
- Infant Mortality Rate declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS 2005-06 and NFHS 2015-16.
- IMR substantially declined over the period from 79 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-1 (1992-93) to 41 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-4.
- Sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males) improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade with the highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977). Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.
- Institutional births "dramatically" increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7% in NFHS-3 to 78.9% in NFHS-4.
- There was an increase of 34.1% institutional births in public facility, while the Empowered Action Group (EAG) in Assam experienced more than a 40 percentage point increase.
- The proportion of women who received at least 4 antenatal care visits for their last birth has increased by 14 percentage points from 37% to 51.2% over the decade (2005-15), while there has been a substantial increase of 20 or more percentage points in seven states.
- Total Fertility Rate (TFR) too declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3 moving closer to target level of 2.1
- There was considerable decline in the TFR in each of the 30 states in India with the maximum decline observed in Uttar Pradesh (1.1 child) followed by Nagaland (1.0 child), Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim (0.9 child each). Bihar, however, failed to register substantial decline.
- Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully immunized (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio) and DPT increased by 18 percentage points from 44% in NFHS-3 to 62% in NFHS-4
- The survey found that the full immunization coverage increased in Punjab, Bihar and Meghalaya by 29 percentage point each, while in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh it increased by 28 percentage points each.
- There was a decline in percentage of underweight children by 7 percentage points, a consequence of improved child feeding practices and focus on nutritional aspects of children.
- There was "substantial" decline of anemia among children aged 6-59 months as it declined from 69% in NFHS-3 to 58% in NFHS-4.
- The maximum decrease was reported in Assam with 34 percentage points followed by Chhattisgarh (30 percentage points), Mizoram (26 percentage points) and Odisha (20 percentage points).
- In category of children under the age of 3 years, who were breastfed within one hour of birth, there was substantial increase of 19 percentage points between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4.
Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI
National President IMA & HCFI