The Union Health Ministry on Saturday, 12 December, released partial data for the fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5). A quick look at the four southern states shows an overall improvement in metrics such as drop in domestic violence and women having a better say in household decisions. The data also suggests that states have made an improvement in the adoption of menstrual hygiene products among women.
The phase I covered 6.1 lakh households from 17 states and five union territories, including all southern states except Tamil Nadu.
The fieldwork in 12 states and 2 Union territories was suspended owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to be completed by May 2021.
Here is a quick overview of the NFHS-5 data for women in the four states from south India:
In Andhra Pradesh, about 30% of the 10,975 women surveyed as part of NFHS-5 reported having experienced spousal violence, defined as physical or sexual violence after marriage. The figure is lower compared to the 43.4% reported in the NFHS-4 survey carried out in 2015-16.
The reporting of sexual violence experienced by young women by the age of 18 has also dropped. While NFHS-4 found 6.8% of young women reporting sexual abuse by the time they turn 18, NFHS-5 found 3.7% of young women reporting sexual abuse. The survey classifies women aged 18 to 24 as young women.
About 3.8% of all women surveyed in Andhra Pradesh reported having experienced physical violence during their pregnancy.
Among the 11,346 households surveyed as part of NFHS-5, about 84.1% of women reported they usually participate in household decisions such as healthcare for themselves, major household purchases, and visits to family or relatives.
Menstrual hygiene has also shown improvement, with 85.1% women reporting use of menstrual hygiene products such as napkins, sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups during their period. This is an improvement compared to the NFHS-4 data which reported 67.5% women using menstrual hygiene products.
In NFHS-5, 81.8% of women surveyed in the state reported having a bank account for themselves. Only 66.3% of women had reported having a bank account in the NFHS-4 survey.
In Karnataka, over 44.4% of both rural and urban women surveyed as part of NFHS-5 reported having experienced spousal violence, whereas 20.6% of women had reported abuse in NFHS-4. About 11% of the young women surveyed reported having experienced sexual violence by the age of 18 in NFHS-5. The figures for the 2015-16 survey stood at 10.3%.
About 5.8% of women reported having experienced physical violence during their pregnancy as against 6.5% reported in NFHS-4.
Among the 30,455 women surveyed, 88.7% reported having a bank account as compared to 59.4% in the last survey. About 82.7% of married women said they usually participate in household decisions. The percentage of women owning property has also risen to 61.8% compared to 47.1% in NFHS-4.
The use of menstrual hygienic products among women aged 15 to 24 in Karnataka has increased to 84.2% in NFHS-5, compared to 70.3% in NFHS-4.
Among the 10,969 women surveyed in Kerala, about 9.9% reported having experienced spousal violence in NHS-5 as against 14.3% in the 2015-16 data. The percentage of women facing physical violence during pregnancy has also dropped from 1.2% in NFHS-4 to 0.5% in NFHS-5.
Among the young women surveyed, 1.6% reported experiencing sexual violence by age of 18 in NFHS-5, a drop from 5% reported in NFHS-4.
About 27.3% women reported owning a house or land in NFHS-5, lower than the 34.9% reported as part of NFHS-4. About 94.1% of the women surveyed said they have a say in household decisions, while 78.5% reported having a bank account operated by them.
About 36.9% of all women surveyed in the state reported facing spousal violence, with more rural women reporting violence than urban women. About 5% of the young women surveyed reported having experienced sexual violence by the age of 18.
According to the NFHS-5 data, about 87.2% of women surveyed in the state say they participate in household decisions as compared to 81% women surveyed in NFHS-4.
More rural women, about 5.1%, reported facing physical violence during their pregnancy, whereas 2.1% of their urban counterparts reported the same. A total of 4% of the women surveyed faced physical abuse during pregnancy as compared to 5.9% in NFHS-4.
About 92.1% of all 27,518 women surveyed reported using menstrual hygiene products in NFHS-5 as against 76.6% reported in NFHS-4.
Across the 27,351 Telangana households surveyed in NFHS-5, 84.4% of women reported having a bank account they operate themselves. The survey found more rural women with bank accounts than urban women. In comparison, only 59.5% of women surveyed in NFHS-4 had a bank account.
There is also a rise in the number of women owning a house or land. About 66.6% of women surveyed owned property in NFHS-5 compared to 47.4% in NFHS-4.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)