National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) final report
National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) final report of the 2005-06 was released by the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare at an official ceremony at New Delhi. The report offers the first-ever comprehensive picture of
the health and well-being of India’s men, women, and children. Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission
(NRHM), Shri G.C. Chaturvedi, said findings from NFHS-3 have added substantially to the knowledge base about the health and family welfare
situation of the country and will be a valuable source of information for making
in health and family welfare policies and programmes.
For the first time, the survey measured HIV prevalence
at the national level and for selected states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Tamil Nadu,
and Uttar Pradesh). The important new information about HIV prevalence from NFHS-3 has spurred the Government of India and international
agencies to greatly reduce the official estimate of Indians living with HIV from more than 5 million persons to 2.47 million. This
change has had a major impact on the global estimate of persons living with HIV.
Unlike the earlier surveys, NFHS-3 interviewed all women age 15-49 and all men age 15-54. The survey is based on a sample of households which is representative at the national and state
levels. NFHS-3 provides trend data on key indicators and includes information on several new topics, such as HIV/AIDS-related
attitudes and behaviour, male involvement in family welfare and attitudes about family life education for
children in school.
Some key findings (NFHS-3) final report of the 2005-06
1. Family planning use up, fertility down
Smaller families are slowly becoming the norm in India. Fertility has continued to decline since NFHS-2, dropping to an
average of 2.7 children per woman from 2.9 children per woman. For the first time ever,
more than half of currently married women in India are using contraception,
and their use of modern contraceptive methods increased from 43% to 49% between NFHS-2 and NFHS-3. A rise in the average age at
marriage is also contributing to the drop in fertility.
2. Half of women lack proper care during pregnancy and delivery
More than three-quarters of pregnant women in India receive at least some antenatal care
(ANC), but only half of women have at least three ANC visits with a health provider during their pregnancy, as recommended.
The disparity between urban and rural women is especially pronounced in this case.
3. Infant mortality drops, but little progress on full immunization coverage
Infant mortality continues to decline, dropping from 68 to 57 per thousand births.
There were particularly notable drops in the infant mortality rate in Bihar,
Goa, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.
Overall, there was only a small improvement in full vaccination coverage,
with 44% of children ages 12-23 months receiving all recommended vaccinations, up from 42% seven years earlier.
Substantial deterioration in full immunization coverage in the last seven years is due to a decline in vaccination coverage for both DPT and polio.
4. Domestic violence widespread
A substantial proportion of married women (40%) report that they have experienced physical or sexual
violence at some time in their lives, with large variations among the states.
5. Malnutrition persists; anaemia widespread
Most striking has been the increase in wasting, or weight for height, among children under age 3
years. NFHS-3 also found a remarkably high prevalence of anaemia – 70% – in children age 6-59 months. More
than half of women in India (55%) are anaemic, and anaemia among women has increased
slightly in the past seven years.
6. Most adults support family life education
All Indian adults agree that children should be taught moral values in school, and most adults think
that children should learn about the changes that occur in their bodies during puberty.
About 80 percent of men think boys and girls should learn about HIV/AIDS, compared with 63 percent of women.
7. Almost two-thirds of married women don’t know that condoms prevent HIV
Only 84% of men and 61% of women have ever heard of AIDS. Further,
only 70% of men and 36% of women know that HIV/AIDS can be prevented by using condoms.
New scientific evidence from NFHS-3 has provided crucial information for understanding India’s HIV
epidemic. The survey found an HIV prevalence rate of 0.28 percent for the population age 15-49, with
more than 60 percent higher among men than women, at 0.36 percent and 0.22 percent, respectively.
The 2005-06 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) is the third in
a series of national surveys; earlier NFHS surveys were carried out in 1992-93 (NFHS-1) and 1998-99 (NFHS-2).
Source: NFHS Press release