Malnutrition indicators in Kashmir have worsened, anaemia on the rise, shows NHFS survey

Photo Credit: Qurat-ul-Ein.

Srinagar: While there is a considerable improvement in maternal health and supply of vaccines for childhood immunisation in Jammu and Kashmir, the nutritional health of adults and children has worsened, according to the latest edition of National Health and Family Survey (NHFS).

The malnutrition indicators, as per the survey have worsened, with the increasing percentage of children with wasting and anaemia.

“Wasting percentage has increased in under 5 children in J&K along with other states and UTs,” it says.

Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education Jammu and Kashmir Atal Dullo told Free Press Kashmir that one of the significant improvements from POSHAN Abhiyaan is considerable improvement in vaccination coverage among children aged 12-23 months.

“To eradicate anaemia and waste-going, the department will put more stress on the implementation of Poshan Abhiyan, a central government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers,” Dullo said.

Wasting, or low weight for height, is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease, whereas anaemia is a condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of haemoglobin.

In children, anaemia is most common due to insufficient iron in the diet and anaemic children are prone to infections and learning problems.

The National Family Health Survey (NHFS) provides information on important emerging health and family welfare issues across the states and union territories (UTs).

The survey has been conducted after a gap of about three years. The first set of findings has been released for only 22 states and Union territories including J&K.

The findings of NHFS also show that the percentage of fully immunised children (12-23 months) has increased from 84.4 to 96.7 percent in J&K.

“The infant Mortality Rate (IMR) decreased from 32.4 to 16.3 percent, sex ratio at birth increased from 923 to 976 percent, Total Fertility Rate decreased from 2.0 to 1.4 percent and institutional births increased from 85.5 to 92.4 percent in the UT,” the report says.

However, the most alarming finding from the latest NHFS is on nutritional status of adults and children.

“Among major states and UTs, the share of obese women increased the most in Karnataka, by 6.8 percentage points, and the share of obese men increased the most in Jammu and Kashmir, by 11.1 percentage points,” the findings reveal.


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