Jammu and Kashmir: In a remarkable endeavour to assess the nation’s demographic and health landscape, India is preparing for the sixth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-6). This crucial initiative, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), aims to provide accurate and reliable data on health and family welfare indicators, shedding light on emerging issues affecting the nation.
This time, the NFHS-6 is poised to be a groundbreaking milestone as it takes place under the sole leadership of the Government of India. NFHS series has been instrumental in fortifying India’s database on health and family welfare since its inception in the early 1990s.
The previous rounds, NFHS-2, NFHS-3, NFHS-4, and NFHS-5, have played pivotal roles in shaping policies and programs while addressing the country’s evolving health challenges. This new edition, NFHS-6, will carry forward this legacy, contributing to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s decision-making process by providing crucial information and data-driven insights.
Building on the success of NFHS-4, which is considered a benchmark in India’s pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals, the scope of NFHS-6 has been expanded significantly.
The survey will cover all 28 states and 8 union territories, ensuring that estimates of key indicators reach the district level in all 731 districts across the country. To achieve this, the NFHS-6 sample size is expected to encompass approximately 676,800 households in 371 districts.
Comtech IT Education Trust, a renowned data management and market research provider, has been entrusted with the critical task of conducting fieldwork in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Leveraging their extensive experience in data collection and analysis, particularly from hard-to-reach and rural populations, Comtech IT Education Trust will play a pivotal role in gathering accurate and comprehensive information as per the survey schedules framed by the International Institute for Population Sciences (UPS).
Radhika Sharma, the director of Comtech IT Education Trust, expressed their dedication to the NFHS-6 project, saying, “We are honoured to be part of this nationwide endeavour to capture valuable data on health and family welfare. Our team is committed to conducting thorough and meticulous surveys in lamniu and Kashmir and Ladakh, ensuring that the voices of every household are heard and their experiences accurately documented.”
Fieldwork for NFHS-6 is divided into two phases. In the first phase, a total of 1,056 primary sampling units (PSUs) have been meticulously mapped, capturing both residential and non-residential structures. Following the randomization process, 20 to 22 households have been selected from each PSU for the second phase.
In this crucial phase, Comtech IT Education Trust’s dedicated team of 154 investigators, recruited from various districts of Jammu and Kashmir, will visit these households for interviews and clinical, anthropometric, and biochemical (CAB) testing.
To ensure the quality and reliability of the collected data, the NFHS-6 fieldwork will employ computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) on mini-notebook computers. Height and weight measurements for women aged 15-49, men aged 15-54, and children under 5 years will be included, along with blood glucose and hypertension measurements. Additionally, a subsample of respondents will provide finger-stick blood samples for laboratory testing of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
Moreover, NFHS-6 will tackle emerging issues that are integral to India’s health landscape. The survey will shed light on topics such as financial and digital inclusion of women, and COVID-19-related issues including infections, hospitalization, deaths, vaccination, and financial burdens.
The provision of printed informative brochures in local languages on blood pressure, blood glucose, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV demonstrates the comprehensive and inclusive approach of the survey.
As the field investigators from Comtech IT Education Trust traverse the diverse landscapes of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, they will strive to collect data that truly reflects the ground reality. With a team comprised of nearly 60 per cent female field investigators, the NFHS-6 data collection process also reflects a commitment to gender inclusivity and empowering women.
National Family Health Survey has long been a cornerstone in India’s pursuit of better health outcomes for its citizens. NFHS-6, with its expanded scope and comprehensive approach, promises to provide policymakers, researchers, and communities with invaluable insights into the nation’s health and family welfare landscape. Through the dedication and expertise of organizations like Comtech IT Education Trust, this vital survey will help shape evidence-based policies and interventions, ultimately contributing to the well-being of the Indian population.