National Family Health Survey: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - April - 2016

National Family Health Survey

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India. The NFHS is a collaborative project of the International Institute for Population Sciences(IIPS), Mumbai, India; ORC Macro, Calverton, Maryland, USA and the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India, designated International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) as the nodal agency, responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the NFHS. NFHS was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with supplementary support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Technical assistance for the NFHS was provided by ORC Macro and the East-West Center.

The First National Family Health Survey (NFHS-1) was conducted in 1992-93. The survey collected extensive information on population, health, and nutrition, with an emphasis on women and young children. The Second National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) was conducted in 1998-99 in all 26 states of India with added features on the quality of health and family planning services, domestic violence, reproductive health, anemia, the nutrition of women, and the status of women. The results of the survey are currently being published.

The Third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) was carried out in 2005-2006. Eighteen Research Organizations including five Population Research Centres carried out the survey in 29 states of India. The funding for NFHS-3 is provided by USAID, DFID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, UNFPA, and MOHFW, GOI. ORC Macro, USA, is providing technical assistance for NFHS-3, and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) are providing technical assistance for the HIV component.

In 2014-2015, India implemented the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). Like previous family health survey’s, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the nodal agency. Coordination between various agencies is done by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, and implemented by a group of survey organizations and Population Research Centres. Technical assistance for NFHS-4 will again be provided by ICF International, USA with the major financial support from the United States Agency for International Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

This will be the first family health survey which will cover whole of India. In addition to the 29 states, NFHS-4 will also include all six union territories for the first time. First time district level estimates will be given for most of the indicators for all 640 districts in the country, estimates would be given as per the 2011 census. NFHS-4 sample size is expected to be approximately 568,200 households, up from about 109,000 households in NFHS-3. In these households information on 265,653 children below age 5 will be collected in the survey.

NFHS- will provide updates and evidence of trends in key population, health and nutrition indicators, including HIV prevalence. Moreover, the survey will cover a range of health-related issues, including fertility, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, perinatal mortality, adolescent reproductive health, high-risk sexual behaviour, safe injections, tuberculosis, and malaria, non-communicable diseases, domestic violence, HIV knowledge, and attitudes toward people living with HIV. The information will enable the GOI to provide national and international agencies to monitor and evaluate policies and programmes related to population, health, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS.

First set of data has been released by the government and it gives some interesting updates for the government and Non-governmental organisations. These are available on Ministry’s website, First set of data includes 15 States and Union Territories, these states and union territories are: States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and two Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. This date indicates that;

  • Fewer children are dying in infancy and early childhood.
  • After the last round of National Family Health Survey in 2005-06, infant mortality has declined in all first phase States/Union Territories for which trend data are available.
  • All 15 States/Union Territories have rates below 51 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Infant mortality rates range from a low of 10 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to a high of 51 deaths per 1000 live births in Madhya Pradesh.

Various reasons has been attached for the improvement in infant mortality. Various reasons include;

  • Better care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Almost all mothers have received antenatal care for their most recent pregnancy.
  • Increasing numbers of women are receiving the recommended four or more visits by the service providers.
  • More and more women now give birth in health care facilities and rates have more than doubled in some States in the last decade.
  • More than nine in ten recent births took place in health care facilities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

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