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State of the National Family Health – Infant Mortality Down, More Opt for Smaller Families

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The Union Government has released the results of the 4th National Family Health Survey (NFHS) results. The survey was conducted 2014-15 and the results were released in the third week of January.
The survey was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.

Here are the highlights:

Infant Mortality Down
Infant mortality rate (IMR) of less than 51 deaths per 1,000 live births, with Andaman recording the lowest of 10 deaths and Madhya Pradesh recording 51. The current national IMR is 37.
The survey also showed a reduction in maternal mortality rates, credited to a slew of measures aimed at improving the care given to pregnant women and the extra attention paid to the nutrition requirements of adolescent girls.

Fertility Rate Down
The fertility rates too reduced significantly ranging from 1.2 in Sikkim to 3.4 in Bihar. All first phase states/UTs except Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya had either achieved or maintained replacement level of fertility.
Tubectomy or female sterilization remains the first choice in India for small family norms. Very few males opt for sterilization. The female sterilisation percentage in Andhra Pradesh stands at 68.3% while male sterilisation (i.e. vasectomy) is barely 0.6% while the usage of pills and condoms remains extremely low at 0.2%. This is when 62.9% women and 79.4% men are literate in the state. Karnataka recorded a high number of female sterilisation surgeries at 57.4% while male sterilisation was opted by merely 0.2% of those surveyed. Only 0.8% used pills and 1.7% used condoms for spacing children.

Immunisation Expands
Full immunisation coverage among children in the 12-23 month age group though varied widely among these states. While six out of 10 children received full immunisation in 12 states/UTs, in Goa, West Bengal, Sikkim, and Puducherry, more than four-fifth of the children have been fully immunised. While Meghalaya, Haryana, and West Bengal registered an increase in the use of modern family planning methods, states such as Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu showed a decline. The survey also showed better nutrition levels among children, though in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya more than 40 per cent children were stunted.

Stunting Less
The data shows that 37% of children under the age of five in 15 states are stunted. There is a decline of 5% during the last decade. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are doing the worst with 48 and 42% children being stunted respectively. The proportion of underweight children has reduced equally slowly, from 39% to 34% with Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are the worst off state.

Delivery at Health Institutions
Institutional deliveries are up, with more than nine in ten recent births taking place in health care facilities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.
C-Section Deliveries More in Private Hospitals
Caesarean deliveries in private hospitals were two times more than those in government facilities across India. (See data in some states)
(According to the World Health Organisation guidelines, only 10-15 per cent of the births require surgical intervention in India. But gynaecologists say there are several complications in some pregnancies due to which doctors prefer caesarean section to normal vaginal deliveries.)

NFHS History
The first round of NFHS surveying took place in 1992-93, the second round in 1998-99 and the third round in 2005-06. The last round of NFHS data was first released to academicians, in a conference at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) so that they could analyse it before disseminating it to the public. n
(Note: For complete NFHS results type NFHS4 results on Google.com)