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eHEALTH BureauIf the outcome of a nationwide survey commissioned by UNICEF is anything to go by, Indian mothers, would-be mothers and children are in the pink of health.Coverage uation Survey 2009 (CES-2009) conducted between November 2009 and January 2010 showed that important parameters of maternal health, such as institutional delivery, safe delivery by skilled birth attendants and mothers undergoing three or more ante-natal check-ups, have increased impressively from the time of national family health survey-III (NFHS-III) conducted during 2005-06. That was the year when National Rural Health Mission was launched.Institutional deliveries increased from 40.7% to 72.9%, safe deliveries by skilled birth attendants from 48.2% to 76% and number of mothers who having three or more ante-natal check-ups from 50.7% to 68.7%. States often perceived to be backward also showed massive growth. Institutional deliveries increased from 29.7% to 81% in Madhya Pradesh, 38.8% to 75.5% in Orissa, 32.2% to 70.4% in Rajasthan, 22% to 48.3% in Bihar, 15.7% to 44.9% in Chhattisgarh and 22% to 62.1% in Uttar Pradesh. Child health indicators also improved considerably from NFHS-III. The percentage of children with diarrhoea in the last two weeks who received ORS increased from 26 to 53.6. Similarly, 82.6% children with acute respiratory infections were given advice or treatment in CES 2009 as compared to 69% in NFHS III. The percentage of children breast fed within an hour of delivery increased from 24.5 to 33.5.The survey also showed a significant change in newborn care practices which are important to prevent infections and hypothermia. Absence of these practices contributes substantially to infant mortality. For instance, 86% of newborns had their cords cut with a sterilised or new blade, 43.6% were not given bath immediately, 74.3 were wiped dry and wrapped and 65.6% were checked within 24 hours.Full immunisation coverage at the national level too jumped from 43.5% to 61%. Of the 23 states that have shown improvement in this area, the coverage grew by 20-30% in nine, while it grew by 10-20% in six states. Large states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka and Maharashtra shown improvement in full immunisation coverage by more than 15%.

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