Tuesday October 24, 2017

Andaman and Nicobar reports lowest infant mortality rate

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New Delhi: A data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) this week, stated that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory, reported India’s lowest infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) and under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 children) among 13 states and two union territories.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory, reported India’s lowest infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) and under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 children) among 13 states and two union territories for which data was released this week.

Madhya Pradesh (MP) reported the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) as well as under-five mortality rate (u5MR) with 51 and 65, respectively, according to data published by the health ministry, as per the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS 4), a nationwide health census, the last data for which was released in 2005-06.

Over this decade, rising female literacy, later marriages, the ability to take financial decisions, better healthcare, cooking facilities and water supply are among the reasons why Indian mothers and children are living longer, according to data from the 13 states and two union territories.

But some afflictions have seen limited progress, such as anaemia, reported in half the children in 10 states and more than half the women in 11 states. Overall, progress is uneven across India, the data shows.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have an infant mortality rate of 10, better than Brazil (15), the same as China and Bulgaria, according to World Health Organisation data, and better than a host of countries with higher per capita incomes. In contrast, MP’s infant mortality rate is worse than some of the world’s poorest countries, such as Gambia and Ethiopia.

Data for union territories and the newly minted one-and-a-half-year-old state of Telangana has been featured for the first time in the NFHS.

Crucial data is missing for some of India’s most backwards states requiring special healthcare intervention by the central government – officially called empowered action group (EAG) states – including Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Almost all the 13 states and two union territories have seen a decline in infant mortality rates and under-five mortality rates. The highest fall in IMR was seen in Tripura – from 51 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005-06 to 27 in NFHS 4 (2015-16).

The highest fall in under-five mortality was seen in West Bengal – from 59 to 32 over the same period.

The direct reasons for improvement are better maternal and child health practices such as more breastfeeding, births in healthcare institutions (instead of at home), improved vaccination and the use of diarrhoea medication. The indirect reasons include rising female literacy, later marriages, better cooking facilities such as gas thus reducing health risks from wood or coal-fired stoves and financial inclusion.

The states that have seen improvements in IMR and U5MR clearly improved their child health indicators. Tripura, which saw the highest decline in IMR, has also seen a decline in the prevalence of diarrhoea, from 8.4 percent in 2005-06 to 4.9 percent in 2015-16, and an increase in fully immunised children from 49.7 percent to 57.7 percent.

West Bengal, which has seen the second highest reduction in IMR and the highest decline in U5MR, has been able to achieve these through increased availability of oral rehydration solution (ORS) for children suffering from diarrhoea (42.6 percent to 64.7 percent) and improving immunisation from 64.3 percent to 84.4 percent of children.

Karnataka saw a decline in IMR from 43 in 2005-06 to 28 in 2015-16 and decline in U5MR from 54 to 32. The state saw an increase in consumption of iron tablets by mothers from 28.2 percent to 45.3 percent.

The state also saw an increase in the percentage of mothers who received full ante-natal care from 24.8 percent to 32.9 percent and an increase in institutional births from 64.7 percent to 94.3 percent showing a direct correlation between improvement in maternal health and reduction in child mortality.

The correlation between sanitation and IMR numbers is well documented. Tripura and West Bengal have seen improvements in sanitation facilities, which have resulted in decreased IMR figures across these states. West Bengal has seen an increase in the percentage of households with improved sanitation facilities from 34.7 percent to 50.9 percent.

Female empowerment through literacy and financial inclusion has also helped in reducing infant and maternal mortality. The education of mothers and their ability to make decisions affects infant and child mortality, according to this study published by the UK-based Institute of Development Studies (IDS). This is evident in West Bengal, where female literacy rates rose from 58.8 percent to 71 percent, alongside declines in both IMR and U5MR.

Similarly, Tripura’s female literacy rose from 68.5 percent to 80.4 percent and Karnataka’s from 59.7 percent to 71.7 percent.

Women in the three states also reported increased participation in household decisions. For example, in Karnataka, female participation increased from 68.6 percent to 80.4 percent. One of the reasons for the improvement of the status of women can also be attributed to their ability to spend their own income. This has been achieved through financial inclusion, which has led to many having their own bank account, the IDS study said.(IANS) (picture courtesy: aif.org)

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WHO Releases New Guidelines to Fight Global Childhood Obesity

India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot

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OBESITY
Obesity exposes an individual to multiple health problems. VOA

New Delhi, October 12, 2017:  In 2016, an Official data in had revealed that over 41 million children below the age of 5 were affected by obesity. Without due attention and efficient treatment, they are likely to remain obese throughout their lives, with an increased risk of developing a host of diseases and physical and psychological consequences like anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death.

In view of an escalating number of people constantly coming under the ambush of obesity, and with childhood obesity becoming a cause of worry globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on October 4, emphasizing the growing importance of healthcare experts and professionals, underlining their positive role in helping kids and teenagers fight the global menace.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as ‘excess adipose tissue’. In other words, it is a body-weight disorder involving excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems.  In case a person’s body-weight is nearly 20 per cent higher than it should be, he is considered obese.

obesity
Excessive body fat that exposes an individual to multiple health problems. Pixabay

There are different ways to calculate excess adipose tissue, the most common one being the Body Mass Index.

Index :

Overweight – BMI greater than or equal to 25

Obesity – BMI greater than or equal to 30

Global Data

According to data obtained by WHO, one half of all overweight children or obese children lived in Asia, and one-quarter of the total obese children lived in Africa.

According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June, India ranks second in the number of obese children in the world with China taking the first spot.

The global menace continues to rise rapidly in low and middle-income countries.

Also Read: Obesity leads to 13 types of Cancer, including that of Pancreas and Esophagus: Study

WHO Guidelines

The new report released by WHO on October 4 is titled ‘Assessing and Managing Children at Primary Healthcare Facilities to Prevent Overweight and Obesity in the Context of the Double Burden of Malnutrition’.

The report provides guidelines and updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guidelines attempt to confine the spread of childhood obesity from expanding further, and prescribe undertaking proper assessment of dietary habits along with weight and height measurements. It also recommends dieting and proper counseling by healthcare experts.

Recommendations by WHO

  • WHO has recommended that primary healthcare facilities should be made available to all children below the age of 5 years and infants. These should include measurement of both weight and height of the children to determine their weight-for height and nutritional status as previously defined by WHO child growth standards.
  • For children and infants identified as overweight, healthcare experts should provide counseling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity, which includes creating awareness about healthy practices like exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continuing the practice until 2 years or more.
  • WHO also prescribes that an appropriate management plan should be devised to counter the menace in obese children. This can be developed by a trained health worker at primary healthcare facilities, or local hospitals.

Healthy Eating Tips to Fight Obesity

Here are a few healthy eating tips that will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will also prove be be beneficial for your metabolism, physical strength and general well-being,

  • Refrain from unnecessary indulgences or random snacking and encourage healthy snacking choices like popcorns, yogurt, fruits, etc.
  • Reduce your sugar intake to less than 10 per cent of the total calories for an individual with normal weight.

obesity
Obese and binge eating junk food? Red Flag! Pixabay

  • Consume a gracious serving of seasonal vegetables and fruits everyday that are rich in soluble and insoluble fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make healthy food selections- include whole grain products, avoid excessive use of oil and salt and refrain from processed or packaged food.
  • A balanced diet must be complimented with regular exercise to counter unnecessary weight gain

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

 

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Infant Mortality Rate declined in 2016, shows Health Ministry data

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country's IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas

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Infant Mortality Rate in India
Infant Mortality Rate declines in India. Pixabay
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in India has declined from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016
  • The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR
  • According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival

New Delhi, October 2, 2017: The Infant Mortality Rate, IMR in India has declined by three points, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family welfare’s data released on Friday.

This is indeed a progress looking at the two points decline last year. The 2019 target of IMR 28 per 1000 births, however, is still a long way to go.

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas. India has also recorded a remarkable drop in birth cohort, which has come down to below 25 million for the first time, according to the system.

I90000 fewer infant deaths were registered by India in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total estimated drop in the number of infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016, mentions the Hans India report.

According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival. There has been reduction in the gender difference between female and male IMR.

“We are meeting our targets faster than the global targets, which means our efforts are showing results,” Union health minister JP Nadda had said during a post Cabinet briefing recently, according to the Hindustan Times report.

Also readSafe Rest Practices for Infants made Readily Available to New Parents through Emails and Texts!

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” stated a health ministry statement.

“The countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives, including strengthening of service delivery and drugs and diagnostics have worked well,” it further said.

All the states except Uttarakhand, among the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Assam have reported decline in IMR in comparison to 2015.

The report suggests this decline as of 4 points in Bihar, 3 in Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and decline of two points in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

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dussehra
Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.