Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: National Family Health Survey
Mains level: National Family Health Survey report on malnutrition in Odisha
Odisha, which is one of the Empowered Action Group States, or eight
socioeconomically backward States of India, has done remarkably well in
health and nutrition outcomes over the past two decades. Its infant
mortality rate has significantly declined.
Its under-five mortality rate almost halved in the National Family
Health Survey (NFHS)-4 from NFHS-3.
It has seen a steep decline in stunting in children under five. Anaemia
in children and pregnant women has also decreased since NFHS-3.
Antenatal care and institutional deliveries have shown good improvement.
All these changes have been possible with financing, policy support, robust
leadership, and innovations in delivery of services.
Nutrition has a strong correlation to health, and is integral to growth
and development. Timely nutritional interventions of breastfeeding,
age-appropriate complementary feeding, Vitamin A supplementation, and full
immunisation are effective in improving nutrition outcomes in children.
Odisha has performed better than other Empowered Action Group States in
reducing undernutrition, and sets an example with its nutrition action plan
calling for convergence with health, nutrition, and WASH (water, sanitation
and hygiene) programmes.
Odisha has taken a decisive step of decentralising the procurement of
supplementary nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services
This has led to fair access of services under the ICDS by all
This is evident from the rise in utilisation of services under the ICDS
as compared to a decade ago.
There has been a marked improvement in supplementary nutrition received
by pregnant and lactating women in NFHS-4 compared to NFHS-3.
Major loopholes highlighted:
However, despite progress in child and maternal indicators, Odisha
continues to be plagued by a high level of malnutrition.
There is stark variability across districts in stunting ranging from as
high as 47.5% in Subarnapur to a low of 15.3% in Cuttack.
Wasting is high in 25 out of 30 districts. Almost half of the under-five
children from tribal communities in Odisha are underweight, and 46% are
The infant mortality rate among tribals is the fourth highest in Odisha,
after Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Supplementary food given under the ICDS programme has shown a
However, data show that less of such food is given as children grow
There is also a decline is children receiving timely complementary
Less than 10% of children receive a minimum acceptable diet. This can be
attributed to a possible lack of understanding and awareness about nutrition
due to illiteracy.
Another challenge for Odisha is in reaching out to remote and
particularly vulnerable tribal groups.
This could be the reason why tribal women and children are lagging
behind the national average on nutrition and health indicators.
It is essential to improve the implementation of schemes, and ensure
last-mile delivery of nutrition services.
A part of the solution lies in setting up mini Anganwadi centres
catering to far-flung tribal hamlets.
Raising awareness through community campaigns on the need for good
nutrition would help improve utilisation of services by beneficiaries.
The International Food Policy Research Institute, in its research,
called for inter-department engagements to accelerate the nutrition outcome
There is a need to improve sanitation, women’s education and underlying
poverty, to be able to tackle undernutrition.
Underweight children should also be identified precisely so that the
monitoring mechanism for improving service delivery can be strengthened.
The National Nutrition Mission sets an example with its
inter-ministerial convergence and real-time monitoring mechanism for
tracking each beneficiary and tackling malnutrition.
Q.1) With reference to the latest crime data of the National Crime Records
Bureau (NCRB) on violent protests, consider the following statements: 1. According to the 2018 crime report riot cases due to communal, political,
agrarian and student issues increased over 2017.
2. Water dispute riots declined in 2018 as compared to 2017.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Q.1) While health outcomes have greatly improved, tribal communities still lag