New Delhi: According to the study Public Expenditure on Children in India – Trends and Patterns, in Karnataka education covers the highest share while nutrition and health of children need greater attention. As per the report, the state stands 14 out of the 16 states in which the study was conducted in terms of children development index. According to NFHS 4, Karnataka had a high rate of stunting (low height for age) and wasting (low weight for height) in children under the age of five in 2017 – 36.2 per cent and 26.1 per cent.
In 2017, to improve Karnataka’s malnutrition status, the state launched the Mathrupoorna scheme with an aim to fulfil the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women. In 2018, the state marked the Poshan Month (Nutrition Month), which is celebrated in the month of September with a ‘Anaemia-Free India’ campaign, where health officials conducted Anaemia – Test, Treat and Talk camps (T-3) and tried to reach out to populations so far not covered by such health campaigns. Along with Anaemia, the state has also undertaken Defeat Diarrhoea campaign and immunization for all.
Here’s a quick lowdown on Karnataka’s health parameters as stated by the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), which gathered information from 23,842 households, 26,291 women, and 3,760 men:
- Karnataka’s Infant Mortality Rate Falls More Than Overall India’s Rate By 37.2 per cent In 10 Years’ Time From 2005 to 2015: According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4, infant mortality rate (IMR) — per 1,000 live births in Karnataka saw a decline of 37.2 per cent with IMR in 2015-16 being 27 compared to 43 in 2005-06. In the same time period, India’s IMR in the year 2015-16 was 41 in 2005-06 it was 57, which is a drop of nearly 20 percent in the 10 years’ time, as per NFHS 4. But a report in 2017 by the Karnataka health department put the state in the bad light with IMR statistics. It was reported that 90 infant died in a district hospital in Kolar since January, of 1,053 babies admitted due to congenital anomalies (defined as metabolic disorder) and low birth weight.
- Karnataka’s Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) Also Shows A Downward Trend: According to NFHS 4, Karnataka’s under-five mortality rate (U5MR) (per 1,000 live births) saw a decline of 43.6% – from 55 in 2005-06 to 31 in 2015-16. The state beat India’s U5MR, which fell by about 32 percent [50 per 1000 live births in 2015-16, down from 74 per live births in 2005-06]. For this improvement, Karnataka has also been classified in the ‘Moderately Improved’ and ‘Frontrunner’ groups in the Niti Aayog’s second edition of Health Index Report 2019.
- Malnutrition Still Plagues Karnataka, Wasting Up By 8.5 Per Cent: In Karnataka, all is not so well when it comes to malnutrition. According to NFHS 4, stunting of children under 5 years saw a decline of 7.5 per cent – from 43.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 36.2 per cent in 2015-16. In the same time period, nationally stunting saw a decline from 48.0 (2005-06) to 38.4 (2015-16), which is 9.6 per cent.
When it comes to underweight (low weight-for-age), Karnataka just saw a decline of 2.4 per cent – from 37.6 per cent in 2005-06 to 35.2 per cent in 2015-16. Though the rate of decline in cases of underweight is at par with the overall national trend but the decline over the ten year time period is comparatively slower than other Southern states. The national average of drop in cases of underweight is 6.7 per cent down to 35.8 per cent (2015-16) down from 42.5 per cent (2005-06). In wasting parameters, Karnataka saw an increase of 8.5 percent, from 17.6 per cent in 2005-06 it rose up to 26.1 per cent in 2015-16. In terms of the overall country too, wasting rate saw an increase by 1.2 per cent – from 19.8 percent (2005-06) the figures increased to 21.0 per cent (2015-16).
- Karnataka’s Anaemia Among Children and Adults Beat Kerala’s Data, One Of India’s Healthiest State: When it comes to Anaemia, Karnataka saw a decline from 70.3 per cent (2005-06) to 60.9 (2015-16) in children age 6-59 months. It is a decline of 9.4 per cent much the above the decline rate of one of India’s healthiest state – Kerala, which saw a decline of 8.8 per cent in the same time period. Whereas, in women, the decrease was from 51.2 (2005-06) to 44.8 (2015-16), which is a decline of 6.4 per cent. In Kerala, it was mere 1.5 per cent. Whereas, the national average for children is 10.8 per cent as per the NFHS4 survey and women is 2.2 per cent for the same time period.
- Diarrhoeal Disease Deaths Saw An Upward Trend, From 4 to 15: According to National Health Profile 2018 report, Diarrhoeal disease deaths in the state in 2016 were 4 whereas in 2017 it increased to 15. Moreover, out of total cases of Diarrhoea in India in 2017 (12,927,212) Karnataka contributed with 9,17,488 diarrhoea cases. In a bid to reduce its Diarrhoeal burden of the state, the Karnataka government has decided to provide free vaccines against the virus to children under the age of one. This year in July, the state government had announced its intention to add the rotavirus vaccine into the immunisation schedule.
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