Millennium Post

In India, more than half of children & women are anaemic: Govt report

New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, it has come to notice that more than half of children and women are found anaemic in 14 states and UTs and all-India level. As per the latest findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) in comparison to NFHS-4, anaemia has increased by 2-9 per cent among children, pregnant and non-pregnant women and men.

The NFHS-5 data released on Wednesday further revealed that the largest spike is seen in children between the ages of six and 59 months, where 67.1 per cent are anaemic, as compared to 58.6 per cent in NFHS-4 conducted in 2015-2016. In rural areas, 68.3 per cent children are anaemic, while the urban load stands at 64.2 per cent.

In another shocking revelation, the findings of the survey have stated that the country's total fertility rate (TFR) has declined from 2.2 to 2 while the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) has increased from 54 per cent to 67 per cent. The TFR is the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime.

As per the report, the second highest increase is recorded in women between the ages of 15 and 19, which is an increase from 54.1 in 2015-2016 to 59.1 in 2019-2021 and 56.5 per cent of young women in rural areas are anaemic as compared to urban areas which is 60.2 per cent. All women between the ages of 15 and 49 years reported a 4 per cent increase in incidence of anaemia that recorded an increase from 53.1 per cent in 2015-2016 to 57 per cent in 2019-2021 and the percentage of pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 49 years, who are anaemic, has increased to 52.2 per cent from 50.4 per cent in 2015-2016.

The positive aspect of the report is that child nutrition indicators showed a slight improvement at all-India level as stunting declined from 38 per cent to 36 per cent, wasting from 21 per cent to 19 per cent and underweight from 36 per cent to 32 per cent.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that the states and UTs which were surveyed in this phase were Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The findings of NFHS-5 for 22 states and UTs covered in phase one were released in Dec, 2020.

In all phase two states and UTs, the situation improved in respect of child nutrition but the change was not significant as drastic changes in respect of these indicators are unlikely in a short span, the statement said, adding that exclusive breastfeeding to children under six months of age has shown an improvement in all-India level from 55 per cent in 2015-16 to 64 per cent in 2019-21.

"All the phase two states and UTs are also showing considerable progress. There is an increase from 51 per cent to 58 per cent of women receiving the recommended four or more ANC visits by health providers at all-India level," it said, adding that institutional births have increased substantially from 79 per cent to 89 per cent at all-India level.

On comparing NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 data, the increase in full immunisation coverage is observed to be expeditious in many states and UTs as more than 50 per cent of phase two states and UTs are sharing over 10 percentage points during the short span of four years.

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