National consultation on reducing malnutrition & childhood illnesses

The consultation was an opportunity to share and disseminate best practices for reducing undernutrition, maximizing the impact and reaching the most vulnerable through proven community mobilization strategies and scale up models

0
85
Download PDF

New Delhi: World Vision India (WVI), a grass root humanitarian organization hosted a national level consultation on the theme ‘Enroute to Kuposhan Mukt Bharat’ on 21st August in New Delhi. The panelists at the day long consultation discussed on the need for partnerships and focused multi-sectoral approach to scale up maternal and child health services in the country.

The experts analysed India’s nutrition landscape and reiterated the need to develop a comprehensive plans with the respective state government departments, to fulfill India’s commitment to global health and nutrition target, Sustainable Development Goals and National Nutrition Strategy. The consultation was an opportunity to share and disseminate best practices for reducing undernutrition, maximizing the impact and reaching the most vulnerable through proven community mobilization strategies and scale up models.

World Vision India has an integrated program across 60 locations to improve the nutritional status of pregnant women, newborns, infants and children less than 2 years of age. Through this consultation, the National Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security along with World Vision India intends to facilitate scaling up of best practices to eradicate malnutrition among vulnerable communities and put forward innovative ideas and solutions for tackling on-ground challenges and policy formulations.

Dr Vinod K Paul, Member, Niti Aayog said, “There is a window, where more children are becoming stunted, which is the first 24 months of a child’s life. This is when the brain grows as well, if not properly fed it would lead to intellectual loss. What you need is breastfeeding, if there was optimum breastfeeding from the baby’s point of view then we can reduce 16 per cent of stunting.”

Dr Paul stressed on the need to focus on small babies, premature babies and undernourished babies, as they are not sufficiently fed. The focus needs to be given at this point of time, the first 1000 days. “The action needs to be in the area of continued breastfeeding, timely introduction of complementary feeding, prevention of diarrhea and hygiene management. I urge all stakeholders to join the ‘National Nutrition Month’ which is the month of September, so as to create a big buzz around POSHAN. A plethora of activities are planned, this would be the month when the POSHAN Abhiyan would be taken to a different level across the country.”

Addressing the consultation through a video message, Prof. M.S Swaminathan stated, Patron and Emeritus Chair, Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security “I am extremely happy that World Vision India is organizing a conference on how to generate partnerships to make a malnutrition free India. We have achieved some degree of progress in the sense we have food security, physical availability of food, put in place the National Food Security Act, and the Integrated Child Development Services. Nevertheless, the problem of malnutrition still persists.”

“If you want to have healthy mothers, healthy children you have to attack the different types of hungers. I strongly believe we need to now move from food security to nutrition security, where not only calories and proteins but also micronutrients are there. All that needs to be done is to bring agriculture, health and nutrition together into a triangular relationship, which can only be achieved through partnerships,” added Dr Swaminathan.

“This consultation is a joint effort of World Vision India and the coalition for food and nutrition security. Malnutrition is India’s silent emergency and one of the greatest human development challenges. To address malnutrition there is a need for change in household behaviour, strong supervision, independent monitoring and knowledge management for effective policy, program, and budgetary action.” stated Cherian Thomas, National Director and CEO of World Vision India

Speaking at the event, Dr K P Wasnik, Additional Commissioner (Extension) Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Govt. of India highlighted, “It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to eradicate undernutrition and ensure sustainable human development. The cost of treating malnutrition is 27 times the cost of the cost of preventing it, therefore the focus on prevention is critical to reduce levels of undernutrition. Agriculture plays a very important role in ensuring nutrition since it has the potential to reduce poverty, a key contributor to undernutrition. It can also contribute to economy and increase government revenues to fund infrastructure, health and malnutrition prevention programmes. We should make nutrition visible and prioritize it at all levels.”

World Vision India urged the Centre, Civil Society organizations and individuals working at the national level to collaborate and work towards ending malnutrition and childhood illnesses by 2020.

The consultation included sessions on Overview of National Nutrition Strategy, Partnerships and Collaborations the way towards a Nourished India, Return on investment –What counts?, Last mile solutions – What Civil society organisations can do better? And Enhancing service delivery for Kuposhan Mukt Bharat. Panelists for the consultation included Dr Chandrakant S Pandav, Coalition Vice Chair, The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, Ms. Rasmi Avula, Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Dr. Sujeet Ranjan, Executive Director, The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security and Dr Satish Agnihotri, IIT Mumbai.