ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unreliable Estimates of Child Malnutrition

In a large country such as India, efforts to generate evidence on developmental parameters at the micro level will strengthen efforts to design evidence-based policy and help in initiating remedial measures. The district is an administrative and planning unit in India, and data on development indicators at the district level are needed to assess the current situation and track progress. Some recent surveys, including the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), have proposed designs that allow computation of estimates of some indicators at the district level. Reports and fact sheets of the NFHS-4 also publish estimates of key indicators for districts.

There is also a demand of estimates for parliamentary constituencies (PCs). PCs and assembly constituencies (ACs) are important political units in the country. If a PC boundary corresponds to a district, then the district estimate corresponds with that of the PC, and if a PC covers a group of districts entirely, estimates of these districts can be combined to obtain the estimate for the PC by applying district weights. Nevertheless, problems arise if a PC covers part of a district or is spread over two or more districts but does not cover these districts entirely. With the aim of estimating child malnutrition levels of PCs by using survey data, Swaminathan et al (2019) made a commendable and painstaking effort. However, this article suffers from serious limitations. In particular, unspecified assumptions, missing information, methodological errors and misleading claims made by authors raise doubts over the reliability of their child malnutrition estimates by PCs and, thus, its potential application for policy and practice.

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Updated On : 8th Feb, 2019

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