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State scores poor in tackling child anaemia: Study

Tamil Nadu is one of the five states with a low under-5 mortality rate, which has been deeply influenced by other factors such as a higher literacy rate among women and increased empowerment.

State scores poor in tackling child anaemia: Study
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Despite these glowing statistics, experts say that the numbers don’t mean that children are in the pink of health. The state doesn’t fare better than others in terms of anaemic conditions prevalent in toddlers.

IndiaSpend’s analysis of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 data has revealed the education of women has a direct impact on children’s health. States with more educated women show better health outcomes for children. 

While doing a comparison between the states with the highest and lowest under-5 mortality rate, an indicator of child health, IndiaSpend found that Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have the lowest under-five mortality rate in the country, while the percentage of women with more than 10 years of schooling in these states was much higher than the national average. 

However, despite these heartening statistics, experts say that myriad problems persist, including the threat of anaemia among children, which can lead to health issues during adolescence. Dr S Elango, president, Indian Public Health Association, Tamil Nadu, said that while there is a decrease in the under-5 mortality rate and malnutrition, children are still facing anaemic complications and iodine deficiencies.  

“In under-5 mortality, malnutrition plays a major role in many states. Females are more prone to this than male children, as the family still prefers the male child more. But the attitude is slowly changing. In addition, malnutrition was also addressed by the state’s programs such as noon meal policy and ICDS centres,” he said. 

“The NFHS 2015-16 data also shows that anaemia among the children is high and it is more pronounced in girl child. It could lead to early onset of menstruation and complications during pregnancies,” said the expert. 

Renuka K R, Managing Trustee, Centre for Women’s Development and Research said, “The quality of education should be questioned as there is a lack of sanitation. The government schemes are well planned but there are still a lot of loopholes in implementation,” she concluded.

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