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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Hindu News october 24 2007- National Family Health Survey -Tamil Nadu Performance

Tamil Nadu removed from list of HIV high prevalence States Ramya Kannan
NFHS has put the prevalence rate in Tamil Nadu at 0.375 per cent

Number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births has dropped from 68 during the first NFHS to 31

90 per cent of all deliveries in the State are conducted in institutions

CHENNAI: Apart from indicating overall performance in development indicators for the State, the latest round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) has also yanked Tamil Nadu off the list of HIV high prevalence States in India.

While reporting lower HIV prevalence rates overall, the NFHS has also put the prevalence rate in Tamil Nadu at 0.375 per cent, much lower than the National AIDS Control Organisation standard to qualify as a high prevalence State (over 1 per cent among ante natal women).

This takes Tamil Nadu off its long-held position as one of the six high prevalence States with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Nagaland.


Simultaneously, it has also indicated greater awareness about HIV/AIDS among the 15- 49 years age group. While the figure is 98 per cent for men, the corresponding statistic for women is 94 per cent, a far cry from the abysmal 23 per cent recorded during the first NFHS in 1992-93. Expectedly urban areas show better awareness than rural centres.

Among other good news for Tamil Nadu is lower infant mortality (IMR) and total fertility rates. IMR, or the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births, has dropped from 68 during the first NFHS to 31 in the current survey. This is a further climb down from the NFHS-2 (1998-99) statistic of 48 per 1000 live births. The IMR has reached an all-time low of 23 in urban areas.

Experts point to the link between low IMR and an increase in institutional deliveries. According to NFHS-3, 90 per cent of all deliveries in Tamil Nadu are conducted in institutions. While the percentage of institutional deliveries has always been in the nineties range, in urban centres, it has climbed to the highest ever at 95 per cent. Significantly, in the rural areas as well, 87 per cent of deliveries are conducted in institutions. Good coverage of ante natal care too has been recorded.

Fertility rate

The total fertility rate has dropped to 1.8 and contraceptive use has gone up to 61 per cent among married women. The surprise component is that use of contraceptives is higher in rural areas (62 per cent) as against the urban centres (61 per cent).

The trends in vaccination coverage, however, provide the sobering effect, emerging as areas of concern. According to NFHS-3, the overall coverage of children between 12 and 23 months (those who have received all recommended vaccines), has dropped from 89 per cent during NFHS-2 to 81 per cent. In urban areas, it has dropped from 97 per cent (NFHS-2) to 78 per cent (NFHS-3) and once again, the rural areas have performed better, dropping only one percentage point to stop at 84 per cent coverage.

Again, while the percentage of underweight and stunted children has gone down to 33 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, the corresponding figure for children too thin for height has climbed up to 22 per cent from 20 per cent, indicating that intervention in this area has to be stepped up.

6,344 households interviewed

The NFHS provides information on population, health and nutrition in India and in each of its 28 States and one capital territory (Delhi).

It is based on a sample of households, which is representative at the national and State levels. In Tamil Nadu, over 6,344 households were interviewed, 5919 of the interviewees being women. Fieldwork for Tamil Nadu was conducted form April to July 2006 by the Gandhigram Institute of Rural Health and Family Welfare Trust, Tamil Nadu.

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