Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 22
Immunization coverage under the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) continues to be a challenge for Nagaland even as things seem to be making a little headway going by the data provided in the CM’s Dashboard.
The RCH Programme which was launched in October 1997 is now a primary subcomponent of NRHM and aims at improving the health outcome indicators, particularly Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio by improving or enabling routine immunization.
Poor mobilization of targeted beneficiaries has been a concern and has been pointed out by health officials from time to time. However, the Department is yet to find a proper mechanism to correct the same.
According to the CM Dashboard, out of the total estimated 9070 pregnant women in Nagaland recorded this year till August 21, only 3433 have been registered under RCH. In other word, 37.85% of the estimated pregnant women were yet to be registered under RCH initiative.
Likewise, in the case of child immunisation, out of 8238 total estimated children, only 3815 or 46.30% have been registered so far. The data do not explain whether the numbers are of new-born or otherwise. Other explanatory information linked to the Dashboard was not working when The Morung Express accessed the same on August 22.
Kiphire, an exception
However, some districts have been performing exceptionally well. In the case of child registration, the data for Kiphire district exceeded the estimated figure of 274 with 310 children registrations. In the case of pregnant women, out of estimated 303, the data showed that there were 368 registrations.
Mon district also had good records in terms of child registration with 1204 registration out of an estimate of 1258.
However, the data are quite dismal in the remaining districts. The gap in number between ‘estimated’ and actual registration in districts like Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung and others were huge and calls for urgent course correction.
The data should worry the government as Nagaland has always been in the bottom when it came to different health indicators especially on children and maternal health.
For instance, the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4), the largest-ever assessment of India’s health and family welfare indicators, released last year depicted the state in a poor light.
According to the survey, the percentage of children aged 12-23 months receiving full immunization (BCG, measles and 3 doses polio and DPT) was just 35.7. Nagaland State is nearly halfway below the national level of 62%.
The record for maternal care was even bleaker.
The numbers of mothers receiving full antenatal care (at least four antenatal visits, at least one tetanus toxoid (TT) injection and iron folic acid tablets or syrup taken for 100 or more days) for last birth in five years before the survey was a measly 2.4%.
The mothers receiving postnatal care from doctor/nurse/LHV/ANM/midwife/other health personnel within 2 days of delivery was just 22.3%.
The national average for pregnant mothers receiving full antenatal care is 21.0% while the percentage for postnatal care was 62.4%.
Wither Mission Indradhanush?
Aftermath the poor record highlighted by NFHS –IV, the state of Nagaland launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) last year focusing mainly on select urban areas and other pockets where immunization coverage has been low.
In collaboration with Ministry of Rural Development, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Nagaland under the initiative of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan also launched the phase-wise ‘Special Intensified Mission Indradhanush’ earlier this year.
During the launch, the Department in a press release informed that the activity will cover 738 villages in all the 11 districts of Nagaland and will be conducted in three rounds.
In the earlier Mission Indradhanush campaigns, persistent gaps were found with regard to immunization coverage in urban areas and areas with poor mobilization of targeted beneficiaries, it stated.
Despite the drive, the mission as reflected by the Dashboard seems to be withering. The 90% full immunisation targeted to be achieved by December 2018 under the Special IMI by Union Health Ministry appears to be a distant goal.