Srinagar: A two-day Northern Regional Conference of the Indian Association for the Study of Population (IASP) started at the University of Kashmir on Thursday.
Dean Academic Affairs KU Prof Farooq Ahmad Masoodi inaugurated the conference, organised jointly by IISP and KU’s Population Research Centre (PRC).
Addressing health professionals and practitioners at the inaugural session, Prof Masoodi underlined the importance of population studies and research for better policy formulation to address the emerging challenges related to people’s welfare, especially in the important area of public health.
He said such conferences offer a great opportunity to health professionals and policy-planners to carry out extensive deliberations on how public health and welfare can be further improved and strengthened.
Registrar Dr Nisar Ahmad Mir, who was a guest of honour, underscored the deleterious impacts of an imbalance between population and available resources that cater to the needs of this population. He said institutions need to collaborate and partner to address the challenges vis-à-vis population, development, health and family welfare.
President IASP Prof Suresh Sharma said the Conference is a strong platform that aims to contribute to framing a national agenda and policy in the critical areas of public health and welfare.
“This conference is a special opportunity to make a strong case for making improvements in health and quality of life in the larger debate of population and development. It is important that health, population and development are viewed in an integrated manner and given a rightful place in forums where social policy is discussed,” he said.
Prof Usha Ram, General Secretary IASP gave the concluding remarks while Dr Jeetandra Yadaw, Treasurer IASP delivered the vote of thanks.
Dr Bashir Ahmad, Director, Population Research Centre KU earlier gave an account of the conference objectives and the vast research work being undertaken by the Centre.
Syed Khursheed Ahmad, Assistant Professor PRC KU actively coordinated the event.
On the occasion, P Manoj Kumar Chief Director (Statistics), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, also released the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) related to Jammu and Kashmir during a special technical session.
The key findings of the exhaustive NFHS-5 document, among other things, reveal that the infant mortality rate in Jammu and Kashmir is estimated at 16 deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births, down from NFHS-4 estimate of 32 and NFHS-2 estimate of 65.
The NFHS-5 also reveals that the percentage of births in a health facility in J&K increased in the last four years from 86% to 92%.
Also, it says, between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5, there was an increase in the vaccination coverage for three doses of DPT (from 88% to 93%). The coverage for three doses of the polio vaccine also increased, from 84% to 88%, the report says, adding that overall there was an encouraging change in the coverage of all basic vaccinations from 75% to 86%.
The report also discusses several other health indicators including children and adult nutritional status, infant feeding, postnatal care, antenatal care, fertility preferences and others.