Rural Woman Healthier, Giving Birth At Home At An All-Time Low

Rural women in India are healthier than they were 10 years ago, IndiaSpend analysis of data from extensive health surveys reveals.

The life expectancy of rural women improved 13.2% — from 58.7 years in 1990-94 to 66.5 years in 2006-10, latest data show.

Source: MOSPI
*Unit: Years of age
Based on estimates from Sample Registration System.

IndiaSpend looked at five significant maternal health indicators of rural women over the past decade. On almost all counts, the indicators improved between 2005-06 and 2013-14.

Births assisted by skilled professionals increased from 40% in 2005-06 to 77.2% in 2013-14, and institutional births increased from 31.1% to 74.6% during the same period — suggesting that government schemes such as the National Rural Health Mission and Janani Suraksha Yojana — which offer special incentives to pregnant women to visit institutions or anganwadis—have had a positive impact.

There has been a sharp increase in the percentage of rural women who had antenatal care visits, from 42.5% in 2005-06 to 58.5% in 2013-14, while a marginal increase was noted in post-natal care, from 28.5% to 34.2%.

The increase in the intake of iron and folic acid (Vitamin B9) tablets—which help prevent anaemia during pregnancy—has helped bring down maternal mortality, in addition to keeping the child healthy.

Only 33% of community health centres and 29% of primary health centres had an adequate stock of drugs, IndiaSpend reported earlier—a possible reason for the marginal increase in the percentage of women who took a course of Vitamin B9 tablets during pregnancy.

Source: National Family Health Survey (NFHS 3 2005-06) and Rapid Survey On Children (2013-14)

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