International Live: India remains in mysterious position about health data. It is rare in India of health related data. The last time the country published a comprehensive, state-wide survey was back in 2007.
So why hasn’t a vast survey of women and children carried out by the Indian government with the UN agency for children, Unicef, been released?
India’s so-called Rapid Survey of Children was a huge undertaking. Almost 100,000 children were measured and weighed and more than 200,000 people interviewed across the country’s 29 states.
The final report was due for publication in October last year. Yet, more than half a year later, the important body of data remains secret.
Leading development economist Jean Dreze describes the delay in publication as “an absolute scandal”.
“All the neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan and even Afghanistan have up to date nutritional surveys,” he says.
“It is hard to account for a 10-year gap without attributing some sort of political reluctance.”
Unicef says it understands that the government is “reviewing the survey methodology” – but the agency is looking forward to the release of the data.
“Data is crucial for making sound evidence-based plans,” explains Saba Mebrahtu, Unicef’s head of nutrition in India. “It helps us understand what is causing under-nutrition so that interventions can be focused in those areas.”
Dhaka//3 July (campuslive24.com)//NS