*Representational Picture Credit PRI.org

India minus Jharkhand, Bihar and UP, has recorded a change in medical institutions as more children are born in government and private medical institutions than ever before, according to the Sample Registration System (SRS) survey for the year 2018. 

As many as  82.5% of all live births in India that were documented for this survey happened either at government or private hospitals. In 2017, this figure was 81.8% and in 2016 at 80.8%.

However, three states among the 22 states and Union Territories that were surveyed by the census commissioner’s office had a very high proportion of deliveries carried out by ‘untrained functionaries’.These states were -Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The survey revealed that  21.3% of deliveries registered in Jharkhand were carried out without medical supervision. In fact, almost as many deliveries were carried out by ‘unqualified professionals’ in the state as were registered in private hospitals, 21.7%.

In Bihar, the same figure stood near 19% and Uttar Pradesh at 13.9%. Only these three states had registered the proportion of non-institutional, non-medically supervised, live births in double digits.

 They have consistently been occupying the top three places, in the same order, in this unenviable category for at least three consecutive years now, starting from 2016.

Their tallies show the huge disparity that exists within the country in the primary healthcare system. A look at states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, with more robust networks of institutional healthcare exemplifies this gap. 

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