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All about the National Family Health Survey (Phase 1)


National Family Health Survey (Phase 1)

Survey has shown that malnutrition has left a profound impact on India’s child population, leaving them vulnerable to all sorts of infectious diseases and weakens their immune system.


The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) recently released the results from the first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS). This is the fifth such survey and the first phase for which data was collected in the second half of 2019, covered 17 states and five Union Territories.


The most important takeaways from the NFHS 5 results is that several states have either witnessed stagnancy or an increase in child malnutrition parameters including child mortality (under 5 years of age), child wasting, child stunting, and underweight children. In simple words, children born between 2014 and 2019 are more malnourished than the previous generation.


NFHS is a large-scale nationwide survey of representative households. The data for this large-scale survey is collected over multiple rounds on various parameters that would ultimately help the government to frame policies for the upliftment of the vulnerable groups in the country. The MoHFW has designated International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai as the nodal agency and the survey is a collaborative effort of IIPS; ORC Macro, Maryland (US); and the East-West Center, Hawaii (US).


The results from these types’ surveys are crucial for the data it provides for research purposes and for policymaking at the central and state level. Though India displayed improvement in child malnutrition between NFHS 3 (2005-06) and NFHS 4 (2015-16), the nation has now taken a U-turn for the worse in terms of malnutrition among children, as per the NFHS 5 results. Another matter of concern is that the phase I results are based on the data collected in the pre-pandemic era and the second phase of NFHS 5 might show up even poorer results as it will take into account the COVID-19 impact as well.


The second phase of NFHS 5 got disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, its results likely to be out by May 2021. The NFHS 5 2nd phase will cover Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

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