GaonConnection – India's biggest rural insights platform

Health

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  • 42%

    Pregnant women in rural India did not undergo prenatal check-ups and vaccination due to the lockdown

    • Only a little over half the households with children interviewed claimed with certainty that child vaccination happened in their area during lockdown
    • Gujarat (13 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (39 per cent) reported lowest percentage of children’s vaccination in the lockdown
    • Only a little over half the households with anganwadi or school-going children reported kids receiving dry ration or nutritious meals from the anganwadi or the government school
    • Nearly two-fifths of the households reported having gone without necessary medicine or medical treatment often or sometimes during the lockdown

    As coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, all education institutes including anganwadis were shut across the country in mid-March. Since auxiliary nurse midwife (ANMs, a village-level female health worker) were involved in COVID duties, immunisation also suffered.

Several children could not get supplementary nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) of the Indian government which provides food, preschool education, primary healthcare, immunization, health check-up and referral services to children under 6 years of age and their mothers.

In a first-of-its-kind national survey, Gaon Connection interviewed rural residents to understand the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on their lives, livelihoods and health in rural India. We interviewed people to understand the challenges they faced in accessing healthcare facilities and regular immunisations. This survey, conducted across 179 districts in 23 states of the country, has thrown up some important findings.

About 55 percent rural households with kids interviewed in the survey reported vaccination of children took place in the lockdown. A state-wise analysis of these households indicates that Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were the worst performers with 13 per cent and 39 per cent households reporting vaccination of children happened in their villages. On the other hand, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan did extremely well on this count with over four-fifths of households with school going children claiming child vaccination took place in the lockdown.

Respondents were also asked whether children in their village had received dry ration or mid-day meals from the anganwadi or the school during the lockdown. About 54 per cent households with kids registered with anganwadi or government school said kids received these meals in the lockdown. However, 46 per cent households with kids did not receive any dry ration for children, which can be a major concern for the health of these kids as malnutrition is a major concern in the country.

As far as ration or meals for kids is concerned, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan seem to have performed exceptionally well with over four-fifth households reported receiving food during the lockdown.

The survey also tried to ascertain the level of difficulty encountered by households with respect to obtaining medicines or seeking medical help during the lockdown. Respondents were asked how often they or a member of their household went without necessary medicine or medical treatment during the lockdown due to lack of money or resources.

Around two-fifths (38 per cent) responded by saying that they had encountered this problem either many times during the lockdown or sometimes.

Around 22 per cent, or one in every five households, said that they had felt the need to visit a doctor or a hospital during the lockdown, and at least two-third of them did not delay their visit and one- fourth did.