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New Delhi : Union  Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who on December 12, 2020, chaired an event to mark Universal Health Coverage Day,  released the 5th National Family Health Survey (NFHS) containing detailed information on population, health, and nutrition for India, and its States and Union Territories. This is a globally important data source as it is comparable to Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) Programme of 90 other countries on several key indicators and can be used for cross country comparisons and development indices.

The present NFHS is being conducted on 6.1 lakh sample households involving household level interviews to collect information on population, health, family planning, and nutrition related indicators. The results of 17 States and 5 UTs (Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Mizoram, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu) have been released now as Phase-I. Phase II covering the remaining 12 States and 2 UTs had their fieldwork suspended due to COVID-19, which has been resumed from November and is expected to be completed by May, 2021, according to a PIB release.

Substantial improvement in maternal and child health indicators over NFHS-4 (2015-16) was recorded in the present survey. The fertility rate has further declined, contraceptive use has increased, and unmet need has been reduced in most Phase I states. The survey found considerable improvement in vaccination coverage among children age 12-23 months across all states/UTs. Women’s empowerment indicators (including women with bank account) also portray considerable progress.