Recently Ministry of Health and Family welfare have released the report of Phase I of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) -V. The report covers findings from across 22 states and union territories. It is expected that the report for the phase II which will cover remaining 14 states and union territories will be released by mid-2021, as COVID 19 emerged to be the major cause of delay in data collection. The report gives data on 131 indicators in total including indicators on household and population profile, health, family planning, maternal child health and nutrition, immunization, nutrition, HIV, gender-based violence, and tabaco and alcohol use.
What has worked?
Looking at the outcome indicators such as the Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) it is much evident that situation has progressed across majority of the state. Other than 4 states out of 22, all the states have reported a considerable decline in the mortality among under five children. North eastern states of Mizoran and Sikkim and union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are among the states showing best results. The IMR and U5MR decline is much backed by the progress in full vaccination coverage, increased rates of institutional delivery and ante natal services in majority of the states.
What are the Pain Points?
Desired progress is witnessed in the mortality rates. However, declining these further to reach the targets of sustainable development goals looks challenging as the nutrition indicators are indeed a pain point. It is a well-established fact that nutrition is an indispensable aspect in the efforts essential to reduce the infant mortality at large. Undernutrition among children have worsened when compared to the last NFHS survey. More than half of the state surveyed have reported an increase in stunting (i.e. height for age of children under five) however pleasantly Bihar has shown a decline in it. To add to the trouble, overweight and obesity has shown an increase in 20 out of 22 states among children and in 16 out of 22 states among women.