`Maternal, infant health index improves in India`

There has been significant improvement in maternal and child health indicators in the country.

New Delhi: There has been a significant improvement in maternal and child health indicators in the country with rise in institutional delivery and increase in immunisation, a Unicef survey released Thursday said.

The Coverage Evaluation Survey 2009 (CES-2009), a nationwide survey commissioned by United Nations Children`s Fund (Unicef), was conducted November 2009-January 2010 across India.

According to the survey, `Janani Suraksha Yojana` - the central government`s scheme for expecting mothers - has changed the scenario of institutional delivery in the country with 72.9 percent women giving birth in hospitals compared to 40.7 percent reported in National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-III in 2005-06.
"Safe delivery by skilled birth attendants has increased from 48.2 percent to 76 percent. There has been an increase in institutional deliveries in states with high maternity rates - Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh," the survey found.

The child health indicators have also shown improvement with the number of children breast fed within one hour increased from 24.5 percent in NFHS-III to 33.5 percent in CES 2009.

The survey shows a significant change in newborn care practices that are important in preventing infections and hypothermia and absence of these practices contribute substantially to Infant Mortality Rate.