More women gave birth in health facilities but more were anemic

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Bombay and Calcutta: In 2019-21, more children were born in health facilities and more mothers took folic acid during pregnancy, but more women were anemic and had high blood pressure, compared to 2015- 16, show The data of the latest national family health survey.

NFHS-5 The data for 22 States and Union Territories (UT), which were collected between June 1, 2019 and January 30, 2020, were published in December 2020. The second phase of the survey was conducted between January 2, 2020 and April 30, 2021, and its The data released on November 24, 2021.

Our data visualization gives you a snapshot of the state of women’s health in India as the year draws to a close.

Maternal health

Institutional births, that is, children born in health facilities, have increased in most states. The largest increase was recorded in Arunachal Pradesh (52.2% to 79.2%), followed by West Bengal (75.2% to 91.7%) and Uttar Pradesh (67.8% at 83.4%). At the same time, the national average personal expenditure per childbirth in a public health facility decreased by 8.8%, from Rs 3,197 in 2015-16 to Rs 2,916 in 2019-21. It declined the most in Delhi (70% drop from Rs 8,518 to Rs 2,548) and West Bengal (66% drop from Rs 7,919 to Rs 2,683).

Other indicators of maternal health have also improved. The percentage of mothers who consumed iron and folic acid for 100 days or more while pregnant increased from 30.3% to 44.1% in India.

The proportion of women taking folic acid has increased the most in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, while Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Karnataka are the two states that have recorded a decline in folic acid. indicator.

Nutrition

Despite the Indian government Anemia Mukt Bharat program under the Prime Minister’s Comprehensive Program for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN) Abhiyaan and its goal of reduce anemia by 3% per year, anemia in women has increased in most states. Overall, the prevalence of anemia, measured as the proportion of women with less than 11.0 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter of blood, increased by 4 percentage points, from 53.1% in 2015- 16 to 57% in 2019-21.

The prevalence of anemia in India has remained more or less stagnant over the past decades and the Anemia Mukt Bharat was launched in 2018, but implementation has only started in the last year or so, said Kapil Yadav, a nodal officer for National Center of Excellence and Advanced Research in Anemia Control (NCEAR-A) at AIIMS, New Delhi. He said the government of India has allocated huge financial resources for this program. “Usually public health programs last about five to ten years. The intervention for anemia is quite long and more or less the whole Indian population is affected by this disease. I think a lot more needs to be done,” Yadav explained.

In 25 of 36 states and UTs, more than half of women aged 15 to 49 were anemic. The highest prevalence was in West Bengal at 71%, followed by Tripura (67.2%), J&K (65.9%), Assam (65.9%), Jharkhand (65.3% ) and Gujarat (65%). Anemia increased the most in Assam (19.9 percentage point increase), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (25.6 percentage point increase), Chhattisgarh (13.8 percentage point increase) and Odisha (increase of 13.3 percentage points).

“Since anemia is a condition underlying poor birth outcomes, low birth weight, delivering premature babies, and possibly cognitive impairment, it is of the utmost importance to s ‘tackle this problem,’ said a public health nutritionist. Shweta Khandelawal from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Anemia is multifactorial and iron consumption alone will not solve this disease, Khandelwal explained. “Overall, poor quality of the diet can lead to anemia and, unfortunately, the NFHS does not include indicators that help us assess the quality of the diet,” she added. She said indicators, such as stunting and wasting in NFHS, are calculated based on weight and height, but weight can be gained even on a high-calorie diet without the necessary micronutrients. . During the pandemic, cereal-rich rations have been made available to households, while a diet rich in micronutrients is essential to tackle anemia, she explained.

Folate deficiency, B-12 deficiency and hookworm infestation can all lead to anemia, Khandelwal said. Besides nutrition and health measures, improving women’s education could be the most important intervention to reduce the burden of anemia in India, we reported in February 2019.

In India, almost 18.7% of women have a low body mass index (BMI), below 18.5 kg per m2. This figure rose from 22.9% in 2015-16. the World Health Organization (WHO) claims a prevalence rate of over 20% for women with low BMI indicated that this is a serious situation requiring special attention. This is the case in Jharkhand (26.2%), Bihar (25.6%), Gujarat (25.2%), Chhattisgarh (23.1%), Madhya Pradesh (23%), Maharashtra (20.8%) and Odisha (20.8%).

At the same time, more women (24%) were overweight or obese (measures 25 kg or more per m2) in the last survey, up from 20.6% in 2015-16. More than three in 10 women in urban areas and nearly two in 10 in rural areas were obese, according to the survey. The highest proportion was found in Punjab (40.8%) and Tamil Nadu (40.4%).

Climate change could further exacerbate the problem of access to nutritious food, especially for women, said Shweta Narayan, a climate and health campaign manager at Safe health care. Extreme weather events in India, such as droughts, floods and downpours, will affect food production, and some studies say that global warming could decrease the nutrition in food, she explained. “All of this has a direct impact on women’s health, because of the way our society is, where our women have access to food last. So there is less access to food and even less access to nutritious food. “

Non-communicable diseases

More and more women suffer from hypertension and hyperglycemia, both in rural and urban areas.

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