Published: 25th November 2021
What The FAQ: What is the National Family Health Survey all about and how is it conducted?
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) Five was conducted in two phases and the results of phase two came out on November 24
Every now and then, it is important to take stock as to how far we have come as a country with regards to indicators like socioeconomic and health. And here comes the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). This multi-round survey is carried out on a large scale to collate information on state and national levels.
It was on November 24 that the key findings of NFHS-5 Phase II were released by Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog and Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministery of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India in New Delhi. Since then, key points regarding India's fertility rate, rate of anaemia and other factors are coming to the fore. Let's look at what NFHS is all about in the first place.
First and foremost, when and why was NFHS initiated?
It was in the early 1990s that this survey was initiated to make our country's database of demographics and health strong by sourcing information that is reliable. It was also to bolster the survey research capabilities of India's institutions so that we can meet India's need for information and dataset on health and family welfare issues.
What are the main objectives of the survey?
A) To furnish important and essential data on health and family welfare for policy and programme purposes as needed by MoHFW and other agencies
B) To supply important information regarding emerging family welfare and health issues
How many surveys have been conducted till date, who conducts them and who are they supported by?
India has concluded four rounds of surveys. NFHS-1 was in 1992-93, NFHS-2 in 1998-99, NFHS-3 in 2005-06 and NFHS-4 in 2015-16. MoHFW has designated the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) Mumbai as the nodal agency and it is this institute the coordinates and provides any technical guidance as necessary for the conduction of the survey. United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and MoHFW have funded different rounds of the survey.
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When it comes to NFHS-5, how was it conducted?
It was between the years 2019 and 2021 that NFHS-5 was conducted. The report itself was released in two phases. The findings of the first phase of NFHS-5, with respect to as many as 22 states and union territories covered, was released in December 2020. Owing to the pandemic, phase two of the survey, which covered the remaining states, was delayed.
What is the process of conducting an NFHS survey?
The process to conduct the survey is a lengthy one. The basic outline would be as follows: after the project planning stage comes the phase of developing different questionnaires and other documents as required. Personnel are recruited and trained after which procurement and distribution of equipment follows. Each district is stratified into urban and rural areas accordingly the sampling proceeds.
What was different about NFHS-5?
While several indicators were similar to that of NFHS-4 to make comparison possible it also has a few new focal areas. These include pre-school education, expansion of domains with regards to child immunisation, components of micro-nutrients to children, menstrual hygiene, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and a whole lot more. NFHS-5 survey work alone covered 6.1 lakh sample households from 707 districts. As many as 724,115 women and 101,839 men were covered.
What were some of the key findings of the NFHS-5?
- At a national level, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), the average number of children per woman, has slipped from 2.2 to 2.0
- Among children between ages 12 to 23 months, a substantial improvement from 62 per cent to 76 per cent was recorded with regards to full immunisation drive. This is at an all-India level
- When it comes to institutional births, they have seen an increase from 79 per cent to 89 per cent at an all-India level with a substantial increase in C-section deliveries across many states
- Stunting has seen a decline as it went from 38 per cent to 36 per cent and underweight percentage from 36 to 32 nationally