New Delhi: Even as the National Family Health Survey-6 dropped questions on anaemia and disability, it has added 58 new questions including ten on COVID and COVID vaccination.
On COVID, the survey will include questions about people’s suffering during COVID, deaths, hospitalisation and financing for COVID treatment or impoverishment due to treatment. On vaccination, the survey will ask the unvaccinated their reason for not taking the vaccine, and those vaccinated where they got the vaccine from and so on.
Other new topics that will be surveyed include questions on mobility and migration of people, women’s self-help groups (SHGs) and digital and financial literacy of women, especially on whether they use mobile phones for financial transactions.
With the addition of new topics and questions, the total number of questions in the survey is 1,068. The additional questions reflect the government’s focus on “female-centric development,” said a principal investigator for the survey, adding that the process of setting the questionnaire had been completed. The official said the decision on which topics to include or drop is taken by the Niti Aayog and health ministry along with the NFHS technical advisory committee.
Unlike earlier rounds of NFHS, which were done through collaborative funding from various foreign agencies, this time the entire exercise is being fully funded by the health ministry with no external technical assistance. The survey will be carried out by the same organisation, the International Institute for Population Studies (IIPS), that has carried out all the previous surveys. The first few surveys were funded mainly by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) along with others like Department for International Development (DFID) UK, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and UNFPA, and with technical assistance from ICF, an American consulting and technology services company.
“The NFHS embarrasses the government at regular intervals with the data it puts out on malnutrition, growth metrics of children and anaemia, among other things. So, taking control of the NFHS was important to the government,” said a senior public health and nutrition researcher about this new development.