The way to tackle malnutrition

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News: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) has released the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5). There has been tardy progress in reducing undernutrition, wasting and stunting.

What are the findings of NFHS 5?
Read here: Union Health Ministry releases NFHS-5 Phase II Findings
What are the lacunae in the system?

Real-time monitoring of PDS is required for ensuring food security. Unfortunately, PDS is a hunger mitigation mechanism and doesn’t ensure nutrition. Further, the government tried to be averse to transparency when results of the Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017-2018 were withheld.

What steps can be adopted to improve the progress?

First, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives have to monitor the exclusive breastfeeding process till the infant is six months old. They should also record the timely initiation of complementary feeding with soft gruel.

Second, the government should make ensure the regular supply of supplementary nutrition from the Integrated Child Development Service for under-three children.

Third, regular monitoring and capturing the regularity and quantity of dry rations supplied to Anganwadi centres and schools for midday meals.

Fourth, self-help groups of women have to involve in preparing the menu and procuring locally available vegetables, grains and millets to ensure dietary diversification.

Fifth, To know about family earnings, there is a need to monitor the MGNREGA workdays as well as the wages earned in areas where droughts frequently recur, places record mass migration and places have a high prevalence of malnutrition.

What should be the way forward?

Poshan Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana need to be closely monitored with the help of the community to ensure sustainable nutrition security.

Source: This post is based on the article ” The way to tackle malnutrition” published in The Hindu on 7th December 2021.

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