NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INDIA’S NUTRITIONAL CHALLENGES
Context: The National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges has been set up under the Chairpersonship of Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Committee has been set up to provide policy directions to address India’s nutritional challenges through coordinated inter-sectoral action and review programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis. Apart from this, an Executive Committee has also been set up under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development with representation of line Ministries and States for nutrition related activities for children and women to provide direction, policy and guidelines for implementation of various programmes/schemes under the POSHAN Abhiyaan. WHAT IS THE NEED OF SUCH A COMMITTEE?
- As per the report of National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) conducted in 2015-16, 35.7% children under 5 years of age are underweight and 38.4% are stunted.
- As per the recent report of Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18, the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children is 33.4% and 34.7% respectively, which indicates a reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4.
- Further, as per NFHS – 4, 22.9% women (15-49 years of age) have chronic energy deficiency (BMI less than 18.5) which is a decline from the previous NFHS-3 (2005-06) levels which reported 35.5% women having chronic energy deficiency.
- Also, malnutrition is a complex and multi-dimensional issue which is affected by a number of generic factors including poverty, inadequate food consumption due to access and availability, inequitable food distribution, improper maternal, infant and child feeding and care practices, inequity and gender imbalances, poor sanitary and environmental conditions and restricted access to quality health, education and social care services.
WHAT STEPS HAS BEEN TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT REGARDING THIS?
A number of schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs has been implemented by the Government of India in order to address various aspects related to nutrition. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition in the country including the State of Maharashtra. Further steps taken under the National Health Mission (NHM) in order to address malnutrition include:
- Promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.
- Anaemia Mukt Bharat.
- Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation.
- Promotion of iodized salt and Vitamin-A supplementation.
- Mission Indradhanush to ensure high coverage of vaccination in children.
- Conducting intensified diarrhoea control fortnights to control childhood diarrhoea.
- Management of sick and severely malnourished children at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers.
- Monthly Village Health and Nutrition Days, Home Based Newborn Care (HBNC) and Home Based Young Child Care (HBYC) programmes.
- Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram.
ABOUT POSHAN ABHIYAN Government has set up POSHAN Abhiyaan in December 2017. The major goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in a time bound manner with fixed targets as under:
- Prevent and reduce Stunting in children (0- 6 years) : @ 2% p.a.
- Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years) : @ 2% p.a.
- Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among young Children(6-59 months) : @ 3% p.a.
- Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years : @ 3% p.a.
- Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW) : @ 2% p.a.
The major activities undertaken under the POSHAN Abhiyan are community mobilization including community based events, creating awareness, advocacy leading to Jan Andolan- to educate the people on nutritional aspects.
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