NFHS – 4 provides, for the first time a district level data on nutritional status of children below the age of 5 years. This provides an excellent and timely opportunity to plan for eradication of child malnutrition at the district level. A quick preliminary analysis of the district level child malnutrition levels, reveals certain important aspects. This is presented below.
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is an important source of information on the periodic progress made on several key health indicators. Among other things, the survey tracks nutritional status of mother and child and the quality of antenatal and post-natal services at the state and district level. Recently, the NFHS 5 data (Phase-1) was released for select states and their districts facilitating for the first time a panel data analysis at the district level.
This note analyses the data on preterm births in Jharkhand as available from the HMIS (Health Management Information System) data for the three pre-pandemic years 2017-18 to 2019-20. This data is important, both as surrogate for maternal health as well as early warning system for handling the burden of child malnutrition. We examine the consistency of the data, the burden and incidence of preterm births, and regional clusters, if any. It emerges that the districts – Gumla, Paschim Singhbhum and Purbi Singhbhum have high prevalence of preterm births. The analysis also reveals the need to pay attention to the tribal districts.