The fourth National Family Health Survey Statistics, 2015-16, reveal that there is very little improvement in the status of child malnourishment in Jharkhand. Despite several specific programmes run by the Department of Women and Child Welfare, malnourishment among children has decreased only marginally from the last survey undertaken in 2005-06. In fact, Jharkhand heads the list of States where child malnutrition is a major issue.
35.7% of children in the State are underweight, 47.3% suffer from stunting. High levels of stunting indicate the prevalence of continuing chronic malnutrition. Other critical indicators are low birth weight and low adolescent BMI. 62.6% pregnant women suffer from anaemia and 69.9% children are anaemic. Although in India, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is different from that prevalent in Africa, standardised methods of treatment are usually not effective, requiring prolonged intervention to achieve targeted weight gains. This is due to high levels of underlying stunting.
Dr. Praveen Chandra, Director Health Services, Jharkhand states that some improvement has been registered in the fourth NFHS in comparison to other surveys, but changes occur slowly in this area. He said that the Government is going to ensure 100% bed occupancy in Malnutrition Centres and that the Centre and State must work together to get positive results.