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Educated ‘mothers-to-be’ likely to get better hospital care

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018

Survey finds 63 per cent of women with secondary or higher education received complete antenatal care

Numbers, now, prove what we have always known — there is a clear relationship between education and wealth with health parameters.

The results of the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) 2015-16 clearly indicate that mothers with higher levels of education as well as wealth received more antenatal care and a higher number of them went for institutional births.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of the women who had completed secondary or higher levels of education received complete antenatal care, which includes at least four antenatal visits, at least one tetanus toxoid (TT) injection and iron folic acid tablets or syrup taken for 100 or more days.

Child care

Further, children born to more educated and wealthier parents held higher chances of receiving full immunisation, and growing up with fewer chances of being stunted and underweight.

About 51 per cent of the children under 5 years born to parents with no education were stunted, as compared to 31 per cent of children with parents with secondary or higher education.

Despite the significant correlation between education, especially of women, and health, the survey also found that only 35.7 per cent of women received 10 years or more of schooling. This is an improvement from the last survey, NFHS 3 (2005-06), when just 22.3 per cent women had 10 years or more of schooling.

Silver lining

The numbers, however, show a heartening improvement in several health parameters, not least of which are infant and under-five mortality, which have come down from 57 per 1,000 live births to 41 and 74 per thousand children to 50, respectively.

General statistics on immunisation of children have also improved significantly.

Incidents of anaemia and low body weight (for both children and adults) are happily coming down, however, obesity is rising.

Further, even as the total fertility rate (or the average number of children born to a woman) is coming down, access to contraception appears to be dipping.

On the lower side

Use of contraception appears to be coming down in the country — female or male sterilisation, intra-uterine devices, or any of the modern methods. What is rising is the use of contraceptive pills, and by a very small margin, those of condoms.

In a disturbing trend signifying the status of women, the country’s sex ratio is taking a turn for the worse.

A compared to a decade earlier, the sex ratio in the country has dipped to 991 (females per 1,000 males), where it was 1,000 in 2005-06. Interestingly, urban areas are faring worse on this parameter, with sex ratio of 956 as compared to rural areas where the ratio is 1,009.

Sex ratio at birth is also worse in cities — 899 females per 1,000 males — as compared to villages where the sex ratio stands at 927.

Published on March 01, 2017

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