Five Bright Spots and Four Causes For Worry From The First Official Indian Health Survey In A Decade

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare finally released the findings of the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS), India’s primary source of data on public health, on Tuesday. The NFHS-4, which is meant to be conducted every five years, comes after a ten year gap this time because of differences of opinion between the government and its partners.

Nevertheless, the new data is a rich source of information on public health indicators and an important measure of the success and failure of government interventions over the last decade.

First the (mostly) good news.

1. On most key public health indicators such as infant mortality, maternal mortality, child marriage, teen pregnancy, child immunisation and institutional deliveries, the NFHS reports improvements in the ten years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
2. There have been significant improvements in child nutrition; and the share of stunted (lower than expected height for age) and underweight (lower than expected weight for age) children has decreased. However, the proportion of wasted (lower than expected weight for height) and severely wasted children has grown. The prevalence of low BMI (Body Mass Index) among adult men and women has also fallen.

Source: Huffington Post (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health