Friday, July 17, 2015

Gujarat fares poorly in child health PM Modi’s home state lags behind national average in immunisation, nutrition, growth

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 16, The Tribune
A government commissioned survey on child health has shown that Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is lagging behind even Bihar on the critical indicator of child immunization. It also reveals that Gujarat has more underweight and stunted children than the national average.
The survey commissioned by Women and Child Development Ministry in the previous UPA regime was conducted with the technical help from Unicef and completed in May 2014. Since then, its findings have not been made public.
One of the findings is —child immunisation rate in Gujarat is 56 per cent as against the national average of 65 per cent and 60 per cent in Bihar, which is normally considered an underperformer on development indicators. Gujarat is placed 21st among the 29 states surveyed for immunisation coverage of 12 to 24 month olds under Universal Immunisation Programme which offers seven vaccines against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, TB, hepatitis B and measles.
Another finding of the report relates to Gujarat’s poor performance on child malnutrition. The survey shows that while 29 per cent children (up to five years of age) are underweight nationally, in Gujarat this figure is 33.5 per cent. For stunting (height for weight), the national average is 40 per cent. In Gujarat, this percentage is 42 per cent. Citing these statistics, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh today alleged that the Centre was deliberately suppressing the survey data because it is embarrassing for Narendra Modi, former Chief Minister of Gujarat, who followed the “Modi model of development”.
“We have no problems with the Gujarat model of development but we certainly have problems with the Modi Model of Gujarat Development. The survey is being suppressed because the Centre cannot acknowledge its finding that overall proportion of underweight children in India fell from 42.5 per cent in 2004 to 30 per cent, the period of UPA rule,” Ramesh said asking the Centre to submit the survey to Parliament for discussions.

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