Y.S. Rana ,Hamirpur ,Himachal Pradesh -Dec 29 : Holding many firsts in healthcare in its fold, year 2010 has ended on a good note for the State. Thanks to the slew of first time initiatives taken by the Health Department, Himachal Pradesh, health indices in the state made the ascending graph in the year we have left behind.
Healthcare is one field where even adequate is not enough. Pressures and demands on its infrastructure notwithstanding, the health department of the state succeeded in notching up many successes, leaving others, including its big cousin states straddling behind.
With the adoption of innovative maternal and child healthcare strategies and effective interventions, Himachal has moved up its health indices ladder. The infant mortality rate (IMR) has come down to 36 per cent (Punjab 41.7 and Haryana 42 per cent ) 1,000 live births which is way below the national average of 57 per 1,000 live births in the country, according to the National Rural Health Survey-III that is National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-III.
Besides, having administered two-thirds (74.2 per cent) of children all the recommended vaccinations, Himachal, according to NFHS-III, Institutional deliveries have increased to 45.3 per cent compared to 17.1 per cent as per NFHS-I. That the state has also been free from neo-natal tetanus since 2006.
Disclosing this Nodal Officer, Health Department, Himachal, said that this had been made possible due to the persistent efforts made by the State Health Department under the guidance of Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal with an objective to provide quality healthcare to the rural population.
Better still, the state has done well in the use of family planning methods. This is borne out by the fact that in the rural and urban areas in Himachal Pradesh, 73.7 and 72.5 per cent women in age group 15-49 use any method of family planning. This enabled the state to achieve total fertility ratio of two or ‘two children per couple’ well before the deadline.
The report also stated that Himachal has done exceptionally well in providing education and electricity to its residents. The state has literacy rate of 80 per cent and almost 100 per cent of households have electricity.
The survey also reveals that there has also been a consistent improvement in the quality of family planning services. Awareness about HIV/AIDS among urban and rural women and men in the State is 91.2 per cent; 77.5 per cent and 94.2 per cent and 91.9 per cent respectively. Awareness about the various contraceptive methods in Himachal stands 71 per cent and efforts are being made to meet the unmet demand for contraceptives stated the official.
The department is providing a minimum of 100 tablets of IFA to pregnant women to reduce anemia; full immunization for tetanus; line listing of pregnant women to keep track of drop-outs to improve the deteriorating sex ratio of the state; promotion of safe institutional deliveries; introduction of free referral transport facility for pregnant women, and for sick neo-natal up to 42 days and promoting nutritional status of pregnant and lactating mothers.
“And the results are there for all to see. There has been 30 percent increase in government institutional deliveries in the first ten months of financial year 2010-11 over the corresponding period last year.” Said government official.
The report rues the fact that the number of anemic children in the state has been increased compared to earlier NFHS reports. 62.4 per cent children (52.8 per cent in urban and 63.3 per cent in rural) are suffering from anemia. Anemia among women and children in a big way is convergence with the women and child development department. It is one of the main contributing factors of mal-ntirition and low birth weight baby, infant morbidity and mortality and ill health.
The report has also stated that union territories have achieved the goal of reducing IMR below 28 and 12 states are in the range of 30-40 per cent. IMR is the single most important indicator illustrating the level of human development of a state or a nation. IMR below 10 indicates a high level of development the report states.
The survey has been conducted by 18 research organizations all over the country, interviewed more than 2,30,000 men and women. EOM