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Anaemia continues unabated in many Indian States

Posted:  Friday, March 18, 2016

Anaemia is endemic in India finds latest survey! The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16 brought to fore the disturbing picture of anaemia in India. The survey found that more than 50% of children and women in the country are anaemic.

The 2015-16 NFHS-4 is the fourth study in a sequence of national surveys. The survey is being conducted in two phases. The first phase of the NFHS-4 covered Bihar, Haryana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Telangana, West Bengal, and the two Union Territories (UTs) of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. The second phase that involves the remaining states and UTs is currently in progress.

The results of the first phase are alarming. More than 50% of children from ten states are anaemic. More than 50% of women from eleven states/UTs are also anaemic. What’s most disheartening is that wasting still remains very high in all of the states and UTs by international standards. More than 40% children remain stunted in states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Meghalaya.

Overnutrition in adults has also showed a disturbing trend. At least three in 10 women are overweight or obese in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu. An equally disturbing find was that the sex ratio of the total population in states like Haryana tumbled from 897 in the last survey to 876 in the present survey.

The survey also found that married women in eight of the first phase states are less likely to be using modern family planning methods. States of Haryana, Meghalaya, and West Bengal showed no increase in the use of modern family planning.

The survey was not all dismal, however. Poor nutrition was not as widespread as reported in the last round of the survey. Maternal and child health and nutrition had also taken a turn for the better in 13 states and two UTs. Fewer children below five years of age were found to be stunted, reflecting improved nutritional status. The NFHS-4 results also showed fewer children dying in infancy and early childhood.

"After the last round of NFHS in 2005-06, infant mortality has declined in all first phase states/UTs for which trend data are available. All 15 states/UTs have rates below 51 deaths per 1,000 live births, although there is considerable variation among the states," the survey reported.

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