Union health ministry’s proposal to discontinue the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) — pitched as one of the most reliable reality-check of the health and nutrition indicators — has been opposed from within the UPA.
The fourth round of the NFHS was scheduled to be carried out this year, but the health ministry wants to roll out an integrated Annual Health Survey (AHS) and district-level health survey (DLHS).
Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh have written to union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, asking him not to stop the survey. Ahluwalia even assured that resources for funding NFHS would not be a problem.
In his reply, Azad said that he is getting the matter examined. Health ministry sources argued that an integrated survey is better for collecting data at the district level.
In his letter, Ahluwalia said, “it is extremely important that NFHS IV should not be scrapped.”
In his letter, Ramesh cited the NFHS as an "invaluable sources" of reliable data on key parameters like fertility, family planning, nutrition, anaemia, maternal and child health. He too, has urged Azad to continue with the current survey for at least one more year.
He has also questioned whether the methodology in AHS and district-level surveys would be fully in-sync with the NFHS.