Fewer women delivered at institutional facilities amid Covid, says Niti Aayog report

The number of women who delivered in institutional facilities declined in Oct-Dec 2020 compared to the (pre-Covid) year before: Niti Aayog

Representative image (IANS)
Representative image (IANS)


The number of women who delivered in institutional facilities declined during October-December 2020 compared to that of the same period before the outbreak of COVID-19, according to a report by government think-tank Niti Aayog.

During October-December 2020, nearly 53,48,000 women delivered in institutional facilities, which was lower than the pre-pandemic level (October-December 2019) of 54,98,000, said the report titled 'Preserving progress on nutrition in India: Poshan Abhiyan in pandemic times'.

Besides, approximately 30,52,000 beneficiaries received post-partum check-ups between 48 hours and 14 days of birth during the October-December 2020 period against 31,31,000 such beneficiaries during the pre-pandemic (October-December 2019) period.

The report also pointed out that the number of institutional deliveries conducted (including C-section) reduced in most states and UTs (32 out of 35 states/UTs) compared with the number of such cases recorded during the pre-pandemic period.

The largest decline was witnessed in Bihar and Chandigarh, it added.

According to the report, utilisation of fund under the Centre's flagship Poshan Abhiyaan was highest in Kerala (58 per cent) and lowest in Odisha (8 per cent) among larger states by the end of FY20.

Among small states, fund utilisation was highest in Nagaland (87 per cent) and lowest in Arunachal Pradesh (9 per cent), while among Union Territories (UTs), fund utilisation was highest in Lakshadweep (65 per cent) and lowest in Puducherry (22 per cent).

Referring to issues related to human resources, the report said 15 states have filled more than 75 per cent of the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) positions, whereas the data for Punjab were not available.

Odisha filled 100 per cent of its ANM positions, while Bihar (52 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (61 per cent) and Himachal Pradesh (71 per cent) had filled less than 75 per cent of ANM positions.

While the information on ANM positions filled was not available for Punjab, it said states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Bihar filled the least ANM positions.

The report also suggested strengthening the service delivery across anaemia interventions.

Additionally, states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, north-eastern states and UTs must focus on child immunisation, antenatal care (ANC) check-ups, and the use of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) for treating diarrhoea, it noted

In 2018, the Centre launched its flagship programme Poshan (Prime Minister's Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan to draw national attention to and take action against malnutrition in a mission mode. It is a scheme under the ICDS umbrella which converge with other programmes and service delivering nutrition interventions during the first 1,000-day period of a child's birth.

The mission is aimed at delivering a high-impact package of interventions in the first 1,000 days of a child's life; strengthen the delivery of these interventions through technology and management; improve the capacity of front-line workers; facilitate cross-sectoral convergence to address the multi-dimensional nature of malnutrition, and enhance behaviour change and community mobilisation.

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