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Useful Notes on the 3 Major Indicators of Health

Health indicators are also required for providing health and nursing care and for monitoring the progress of health programmes. Usually these indicators are calculated as rates for a particular base over a definite period of time like a year or so. The indicators of health are as follows:

(i) Mortality indicators

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(ii) Morbidity indicators

(iii) Health care services indicators

(i) Mortality Indicators (Death Rate):

Mortality rate of children of any country is the direct indicator for gauging the state of development of the country. A high mortality rate of children in a country indicates that the country is undeveloped or under-developed. But on the other hand if the mortality rate of children is low, it shows that the country is highly developed.

The death rate of infants (children below one year of age) is called Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and the death of children below 5 year of age is called under five Mortality Rate (UFMR). Infant Mortality Rate is calculated as follows

Infant Mortality Rate=No. of deaths registered or estimated of children below one year of age in an area/ No. of live births registered or estimated during the year in the area?1000

Similarly crude death rate is calculated which is a significant indicator of health. If the death rate is high, it indicates that the health of the community is poor. Crude death rate may be defined as the number of deaths per 1000 population per year in a given community.

Death rate = No. of deaths in the year/ Mean Population during the Year?1000

Life expectancy i.e. the age up to which male or female will live is another indicator of health status of a community. A low expectation of life indicates a low level of health and high expectation of life indicates high level of health.

In our country the Child Mortality Rate and Crude Death Rate are quite large so suitable measures will have to be taken to improve the health of the community.

(ii) Morbidity Rate (Disease Rate):

The morbidity rate is the number of cases of a disease found to occur in a stated number of population, usually given as cases per 1, 00,000 or per million. Annual figures for morbidity rate give the incidence of the disease, which is the number of new cases reported in the year.

The morbidity indicators are used to describe the ill health of those who are actually suffering from disease or illness. It includes the statistical data showing notification of disease and number of cases admitted in the hospital.

(iii) Health Care Services Indicators:

Health care services indicators are determined from doctor-population ratio, doctor-nurse ratio, population-health centre ratio, population-bed ratio etc.

The indication of health status does not depend only on the availability of health care services but depends on the extent to which these services are utilized. Besides the above mentioned indicators there are so many other indicators of health such as:

(a) Nutritional Status Indicators:

(b) Sanitation indicators.

(c) Socio-economic indicators.

(d) Quality of life indicators.

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