There’s some good news on health front. According to a study by USAID and CARE India,there has been an 8 per cent decline in malnutrition cases in nine states across Indias poorest states in the past seven years.
The study among infants aged between 12-23 months was done for the period 2001-2006 and shows that malnutrition amongst this group has declined from 61 per cent to 53 per cent.
Terming it a great achievement,experts who worked on the project and saw improvement in other health-related matters too,have said the credit for this (drop in malnutrition cases) goes to Anganwadi workers. The report reveals that during the period the study was carried,there has been an increase in more than 12 per cent of women receiving iron supplement tablets. The study showed an overall improvement in various key indicators related to neo-natal care,including the initiation of breast-feeding within two hours of birth. In fact,an increase in exclusive breast-feeding of children below six months by more than 10 per cent from 33.6 per cent to 44.2 per cent over a three-year period was seen.
While the latest National Family Health Survey projected that almost 50 per cent of Indians children had stunted growth and depicted a little improvement over issues like contraceptive prevalence rate and institutional deliveries,this study has come as a relief for policy makers. As per the study which was carried out in nine states,including Rajasthan,Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh,there has been an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate of 4.8 per cent over a three-year period.