National Family Health Survey finds jump in vaccination

Partial data show improvement in supply of vaccine for childhood immunisation

Updated - December 13, 2020 12:21 am IST

Published - December 12, 2020 10:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A child is administered polio drops. File

A child is administered polio drops. File

The Health Ministry on Saturday released partial data from the fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) claiming “considerable improvement” in the supply of vaccine for childhood immunisation from the fourth round in 2015-16.

A quick perusal of the data showed that in Andhra Pradesh, the percentage of fully vaccinated children (12-23 months) jumped to 73% from 65% in the fourth edition. However, children with diarrhoea in the two weeks preceding the survey also jumped to 7.2% from 6.6%. In West Bengal, institutional births of children increased from 75% to 91% and in Gujarat, the proportion of anaemic children sharply increased from 62.6% to 79.7%


12 States to be covered

Like other versions, the newest edition too has information on population, health and nutrition for India, and is based on statistics gleaned from 6.1 lakh households. The results from 17 States and five Union Territories (Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Mizoram, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu) were released on Saturday under Phase-I.

Phase II, covering the remaining 12 States and two UTs, had their field work suspended due to COVID-19. This was resumed in November and is expected to be completed by May 2021.

Health indicators up

“Substantial improvement in maternal and child health indicators over NFHS-4 was recorded in the present survey. The fertility rate has further declined, and contraceptive use has increased in most Phase I States. The survey found considerable improvement in vaccination coverage among children aged 12-23 months across all States/UTs. Women’s empowerment indicators (including women with bank account) also portray considerable progress,” a press statement from the Health Ministry noted.

Typically, NFHS data has an accompanying summary that explains changes in key health indicators from previous surveys. The latest edition lacks such a national comparison and instead only has tables listing out data from the 17 States and five UTs.

Experts note State-specific trends. Physician and epidemiologist Giridhar R. Babu tweeted that in Karnataka, the percentage of women who were overweight or obese had increased from 23.3% to 30%, and that women who had experienced spousal violence increased from 20.6% to 44.4%. Breastfeeding practices, too, weren’t improving, he noted. In West Bengal, institutional births of children increased from 75% to 91% and in Gujarat, the proportion of anaemic children sharply increased from 62.6% to 79.7%.

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