Health Indicators Current Affairs

NFHS 4 shows improved sex ratio, decline in infant mortality rate

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unveiled last National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) for 2015-16.

It has shown positive trends in key health indicators, including an decline in infant mortality rate (IMR) and improvement in sex ratio at birth during 2015-16.

The survey was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men. For the first time it provides district level estimates.

Key Highlights from NFHS-4 
  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR): It has declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4.
  • IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade. It dropped by more than 20% in Tripura, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha.
  • It reflects that concerted efforts and focussed interventions in the sector can translate to improved outcomes.
  • Sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males): It has improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade. It is highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977). Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.
  • Institutional births: Increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7% in NFHS-3 to 78.9% in NFHS 4. There was an increase of 34.1% institutional births in public facility, while Assam has experienced more than a 40 percentage point increase.
  • Proportion of women who received at least 4 antenatal care visits for their last birth has increased by 14 percentage points from 37% to 51.2% over the decade (2005-15).
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR): It also has declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3. Thus, it is moving closer to target level of 2.1.
  • There was considerable decline in TFR in each of the 30 states/UTS, maximum decline was observed in Uttar Pradesh (1.1 child), Nagaland (1.0 child), Arunachal Pradesh (0.9 child) and Sikkim (0.9 child). Bihar failed to register substantial decline.
  • Full immunization coverage: Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully immunized (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio) and DPT increased by 18 percentage points to 62% in NFHS-4 from 44% in NFHS-3.
  • It has increased in Punjab, Bihar and Meghalaya by 29 percentage point each. In Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh it increased by 28 percentage points each.
  • Underweight children: There was a decline by 7 percentage points, a consequence of improved child feeding practices and focus on nutritional aspects of children.
  • There was “substantial” decline of anaemia from 69% in NFHS-3 to 58% in NFHS-4 among children aged 6-59 months.
  • The maximum decrease was reported in Assam with 34 percentage points followed by Chhattisgarh (30% points), Mizoram (26% points) and Odisha (20% points).
  • Contraceptive prevalence rate among currently married women: It has increased by 7 percentage points from NFHS-1 (41%) to NFHS-2 (48%), 8 percentage points from NFHS-2 to NFHS-3 (56%).
  • However, the rate decreased by 2 percentage points from NFHS-3 (56%) to NFHS-4 (54%), but pills and condom usage have shown increasing trend.

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