Indians living longer now compared to a few decades ago: Report

HARSH VARDHAN
File Photo

New Delhi (NVI): Indians are living longer now as compared to a few decades ago, with women generally remaining alive for up to 70 years on an average, over three years more than men, according to the National Health Profile 2019 that was released here on October 30.

According the NHP 2019, that was released by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, India’s life expectancy has gone up from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16. For the same period, the female life expectancy was 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males. Further, the infant mortality rate has declined considerably to 33 per 1,000 live births in 2016. The total number of disabled persons in India stands at  2.68 crore.

Another highlight of the NHP 2019 is the finding that the National Capital Region has the highest population density of 11,320 people per square kilometre whereas Arunachal Pradesh had the lowest density of 17 people.

The Profile also reveals that majority (64.7 per cent) of the population was in the age group of 15-59 years while 27 per cent of it was under 14 in 2016. Only 8.5 per cent population was in the age group of 60 to 85 plus years.

The 14th edition of NHP is the continuation of the publication since 2005. The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) and covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.

Speaking on the occasion of the release of NHP 2019, Vardhan said that data is an important source of understanding the needs and issues of the population. It helps in understanding the goals, our strengths and weaknesses and is also an important means to strategize area specific interventions. Good quality data enables policymakers to make evidence-based policies and aids effective implementation of various schemes.

He suggested that this document should be highly disseminated, so that more and more people who want to develop health interventions or programs can utilize this data and come up with unique solutions and policy suggestions. He further said that the e-book of NHP-2019 is a step towards realizing PM Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India, as digital documents give us an opportunity for wider dissemination of information.

Speaking on the occasion, Heath Secretary Preeti Sudan stated that data is not only important for understanding the health indicators of the country, but it also provides an opportunity to monitor the situation. She said that the National Health Profile – 2019 indicates that significant progress has been made in the country for various health outcomes, which is an encouraging sign.

-sb