• World Health Day: National Survey and key issues of health

    Health is an important fact of not just development and growth, but they are intrinsic to a person’s productive capacity as well. Especially in India, a nation under global scrutiny and it’s claim to permanent membership at the UN, TB is still one of the main causes of death by treatable illnesses.

    The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has been going on since 1992 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In 2015-16, they surveyed about 572000 households in order to determine the key areas in health that need focus. A standing ovation to the department for including, for the first time, documentation of experiences of women with violence during pregnancy.

    The NFHS 2015-16 documented experiences of women with violence during pregnancy for the first time

    Electricity and Drinking Water:

    Primitive as they may sound, issues of clean drinking water and electricity still form a major part of impediments to growth in many parts of India. According to the survey, most of the increase and improvement is limited to urban areas, though 97% of households in the country have access to electricity. This number has doubled in the past decade.

    The situation of drinking water has worsened in the states of Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Manipur in the past decade, Manipur being most hit with a 20.2% downslope.


    In simple terms, sanitation is the basic access to clean, functional toilets and proper sewage and waste water disposal. The survey unearthed a wide rural-urban disparity, with about urban areas having 3-4 times better sanitation facilities that rural areas. Despite having shown highest levels of improvement, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh continue to be the worst providers of sanitations, with 25 and 34% access respectively.

    Modern Contraceptive use declined in most states in the past decade

    Maternal Healthcare:

    A woman is her womb. Though that’s not our identity, it is a role exclusive to us and it is pertinent that it gets enough attention, not just for the sake of women, but for the health and well-being of the future population that we bear.

    Following are the major challenges in achieving full maternal healthcare:

    -Antenatal care ANC(from the time a woman conceives until after the child is delivered, through tablets, injections and syrups);

    -Institutional deliveries (either at hospitals/ clinics or through trained Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs))

    One would not be so surprised to learn that this is the worst performance area of health. While only 3% women received full ANC in Bihar, the number was just 8% in Tripura. In Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, less than 1% of women underwent home deliveries under the supervision of trained health personnel.

    The survey also pointed out that obesity could be a major concern in times to come. Despite being so progressive in its approach, the NFHS seemed to have ignored the aspect of mental health and happiness, an issue directly linked with quality of life and growth capacity. In simple terms, your happiness is the true indicator of development in health and well-being.

    You can access further statistics on the NFHS 2015-16 here