National Report of the 2nd phase of fifth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) was released recently.
Key findings and sociological analysis:
The Total Fertility Rates (TFR) has further declined since NFHS-4 in almost all the Phase-1 States and UTs.
Overall Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased substantially in most States/UTs and it is the highest in HP and WB (74%). Use of modern methods of contraception has also increased in almost all States/UTs.
Bhat and Ghosh write that studies have found that women’s education has a significant net negative effect on fertility even after controlling for the effects of other potentially confounding
Studies have also observed the “indirect” role of education through channels like diffusion of fertility norms from the educated to uneducated through social learning and social imitation.
Institutional births have increased substantially with over four-fifth of the women delivering in institutions in 19 States and UTs.
Charu C Garg in earlier studies writes that the findings reveal that the utilization of public facilities for childbirth increased three times in rural areas and almost one and a half times in urban areas between 2004 and 2014.Also, the average medical expenditure on childbirth in government health facilities declined by 36% in rural areas and by 5% in urban areas. Considerable interstate variations in regard to out of pocket expenditure on drugs, diagnostics and transportation were also witnessed. Thus, more needs to be done for the benefits to reach the vulnerable sections, especially in urban areas.
Sex ratio at birth has remained unchanged or increased in most States/UTs. Majority of the states are in normal sex ratio of 952 or above. SRB is below 900 in Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, DNH & DD.
Debolina Kundu,Rakesh Mishra believe that the exploration of the trends and patterns of sex ratio at birth in urban India and the processes behind son preference suggests a systematic worsening of SRB with increasing urban district size classes. The interrelationship between SRB and educational attainment shows an inverted U- shape. A balanced SRB among poor women corroborates their unbiased gender preference. In contrast, wealthier women and those with exposure to mass media exhibit poor SRB, although they report a neutral preference.
Child nutrition indicators show a mixed pattern across states. While the situation improved in many States/UTs, there has been minor deterioration in others. Drastic changes in respect of stunting and wasting are unlikely in a short period. Anemia among women and children continues to be a cause of concern. More than half of the children and women are anemic in 13 of the 22 States/UTs.
Biplab Dhak writes that while there has been a saturation of persistent government interventions for immunization, antenatal care, and institutional delivery; education and economic status have become stronger predictors. They ensure better childcare practices, sanitation, proper diet, and access to healthcare. Therefore, the future of child nutrition lies largely in the improvement of quality education and inclusive economic development.
Women’s empowerment indicators portray considerable improvement across all the States/UTs included in Phase 1. More than 60 per cent of women in every state and UTs in the first phase have operational bank accounts.
Kumud Sharma argues that gender inequalities are particularly visible in resource- based entitlements (land titles, property rights, credit, etc). Hence the rationale, that access to credit and functional bank accounts will generate income and livelihood options, give women more bargaining power within the household and contribute to family well-being.