Decline in nutritional status of children in Nagaland

Mobile team of health workers administering polio drops in between Benreu and Poilwa village under Peren district on January 20, 2020. (Morung File Photo via CMO office Peren)
Mobile team of health workers administering polio drops in between Benreu and Poilwa village under Peren district on January 20, 2020. (Morung File Photo via CMO office Peren)

Vaccination coverage improves, decline in infant mortality rate: NFHS-5 report

Morung Express News
Dimapur | December 13

The mortality rate among infants and children under 5 years of age in Nagaland showed a decline in Nagaland while the State also registered an increase in the underweight and stunted children of the same age group.

The worrying figures in nutritional status of children are as presented in the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on December 12.

NFHS-5 fieldwork for Nagaland was conducted from July 15, 2019 to December 6, 2019 by Research and Development Initiative (RDI) Pvt. Ltd. Information was gathered from 10,112 households, 9,694 women, and 1,456 men, as per the report.

According to the NFHS-5 data, total percentage of children aged 6-23 months receiving an adequate diet in Nagaland was only 14.5% as compared to 18.8% in 2015-2016.

Nagaland was among the States which also registered a surge in the percentage of stunted children under five years of age in comparison to 2015-16.

As per the NFHS-5 data, 32.7% of children under 5 years in the State are stunted as compared to 28.6 in 2015-2016.

 Wasting percentage increased in children under 5 years of age in Nagaland in comparison to NFHS-4.

7.9% of children below 5 years are severely wasted (weight-for-height) in the State as per the NFHS-5 findings.

Stunting and wasting are among the important nutritional status indicators for children. While stunting is caused by long-term insufficient intake of nutrients and repeated infections, wasting is a result of acute food shortage and illness.

NFHS-5 also showed a rise in the percentage of overweight and underweight children under 5 years of age.

26.9% of children under 5 years are underweight (weight-for-age) in Nagaland, according to the NFHS-5 data. In 2015-16, the figure was 16.7%.

Children under 5 years who are overweight in Nagaland stood at 4.9% as compared to 3.8 in 2015-16.

Vaccination
The survey meanwhile found considerable improvement in vaccination coverage among children age 12-23 months in the State.

Children between 12-23 months who are fully vaccinated based on information from either vaccination card or mother’s recall during the current survey period was 57.9% as compared to 35.4% in 2015-2016.

Significantly, 93.2% of children between the age of 12-23 months received most of their vaccinations in a public health facility during the survey period of 2019-2020. In 2015-2016 the figure was 91.6%.

In comparison, children in the same age group who received most of their vaccinations in a private health facility showed a decline from 7.9% in 2015-2016 to 4.1% in the 2019-2020.

Decline in infant mortality rate
As compared to the NFHS-4 conducted from 2015-16, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Nagaland also showed a decline in the fifth survey period. (See table)

The neonatal mortality rate (NMR) (per 1,000 live births) slipped from 16.5 in 2015-2016 to 10.2 in 2019-2020.  The State also registered a decline in the under-five mortality rate in the current survey period.

About NFHS
National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) are conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The NFHS-5 contains vital information on reproductive and child health, fertility and family planning, health insurance, nutrition. The reference period of NFHS-5 was 2019-2020 and contains detailed information on population, health, and nutrition for India and its states and Union Territories.

The first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) has been completed in 22 States/UTs. Fieldwork for the Phase II survey covering the remaining 14 States and UTs had reportedly been suspended due to COVID-19. However it has been resumed and is currently in progress, Rajesh Bhushan Secretary, Ministry of health and Family Welfare stated in the report.