Anaemia has deteriorated among children and adults, with more than half of women and children anaemic in the fifth national family health survey 2019-21, which was issued on Wednesday.
More than 67 percent of children aged six months to five years were determined to be anaemic, compared to 58.6 percent in the last survey done in 2015-16. In comparison to the previous survey, more women and men in the age groups 15 to 49 years and 15 to 19 years were reported to be anaemic. In the 15-49 year age group, women had 57 percent of the cases of anaemia compared to men’s 25 percent.
“Anemia among children and women continues to be a source of concern…despite a significant increase in the composition of iron-folic acid pills used by pregnant women for 180 days or more,” according to the health ministry.
On the plus side, the number of women in the 15-49-year-old age bracket who have a bank or savings accounts that they utilize has increased to 78.6%, up from 58.6% in the previous study.
The national fertility rate for women fell from 2.2 children per woman in 2015-16 to 2.0 in the most recent poll. It did, however, vary from Chandigarh to Uttar Pradesh, ranging from 1.4 to 2.4. Except for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, all Phase-II states have reached a replacement level of fertility of 2.1.
In the NFHS 2019-21, there has also been some improvement in the markers for children’s and adults’ nutritional status.
At the national level, stunting has decreased from 38% to 36%, wasting has decreased from 21% to 19%, and underweight has decreased from 36% to 32%.
According to the health ministry, child nutrition improved in all phase two states and UTs, but the improvement was not considered because drastic improvements in these indicators are improbable in such a short time.
At the national level, institutional births have risen from 79 percent to 89 percent. In Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, institutional delivery was found to be 100%. Many jurisdictions, particularly private healthcare facilities, have seen a significant increase in C-section deliveries.
Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand are the states covered in phase-II of the study.
As of March 2017, the survey included roughly 600,000 lakh sample households from 707 districts across the country, totaling 724,115 women and 101,839 men.
In December 2020, the findings of NFHS-5 in relation to the 22 states covered in Phase-I were announced.