Unlocking Insights

Moa Jamir

Utilise Nagaland's Civil Registration vital statistics to formulate effective state-centric policies

It is a truism to say that education and health are complementary to each other. To this end, the health and education of both parents, particularly the mother, have had been recognised as crucial in determining the health status of an individual, community, state, or nation.

Among other factors, health and education would enable vital access to information as well as health services at all levels. Efficient management of maternal health or the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period is considered crucial, potentially a matter of life and death for both the mother and the baby.

In this context, the information presented in the "Civil Registration System in Nagaland- Annual Report 2022" issued by Nagaland’s Department of Economics and Statistics (DE&S), stands as a crucial document, furnishing essential insights and vital statistics. 

According to the report, in rural areas, 81.36% of mothers of registered live births in 2022 were designated as literate, yet a significant 71.60% remained below matriculate. Matriculate or higher secondary level accounted for 7.60%, while graduates and above constituted just 2.16%. Additionally, 18.64% of mothers were found to be illiterate. Among fathers, 83.24% were literate, but 70.05% were below matriculate. Only 10.04% and 3.14% had achieved matriculate/higher secondary/equivalent and graduate levels, respectively.

Notably, the literacy rate of mothers was slightly lower in rural areas at 77.02%, though education below matriculation and matriculate/higher secondary/equivalent were higher, respectively, at 54.01% and 15.26%. In urban areas, 7.74% of mothers were graduates or above. Among the fathers in urban areas, 78.96% were literate with 51.60% below matriculation and 16.72% were matriculate/higher secondary/equivalent. A total of 10.65% were graduate and above, while 21.04% of the fathers were illiterate.

These statistics raise questions about their correlation with lower child vaccinations and nutritional status in Nagaland. While the state has made commendable progress in reducing child and mother’s death, with DE&S’s report showing just 0.46 Infant mortality and zero maternal mortality in 2022, concerns persist regarding immunization rates and overall child health.

For instance, according to the NFHS-5, only 57.9% of children aged 12-23 months in Nagaland were fully vaccinated, much below the national average of 76.4%. Additionally, children aged 9-35 months receiving a vitamin A dose in the last 6 months was just 45.6% in Nagaland, compared to 71.2% nationally.

The nutritional indicators also highlight that the status in many areas has regressed and requires targeted intervention. Furthermore, according to NFHS-5, 32.7% of children under 5 years in Nagaland were found to be stunted, compared to 28.6% in 2015-2016. Additionally, 7.9% of children experienced severe wasting, indicating an increase from 4.2% in 2015-2016. Despite the status being relatively better than the national average of 35.5% (stunted) and 7.7% (severely wasted), the deterioration of essential nutritional indicators remains a cause for concern.

Accordingly, the "Civil Registration System in Nagaland" report, with its wider coverage and higher sample sizes compared to the NFHS, emerges as a more topical and comprehensive resource. It should forms the basis for targeted interventions, particularly within the healthcare sector.

Policymakers and other stakeholders must comprehensively and strategically examine the insights and vital statistics presented in the DE&S's civil registration report. Such examination is imperative for formulating state-centric, effective, and efficient evidence-based policies across various sectors.

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