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  1. 1. Despite India's substantial progress in human development since its independence in 1947, more that half of its children under four years of age are moderately or severely malnourished, 30 percent of newborns are significantly underweight, and 60 percent of Indian women are anemic. An initiative by Team Liaison Sneha Pande Saurabh Tomar Nitin Chamoli Anurag Amar Shubham Naithani Graphic Era University Dehradun Uttarakhand
  2. 2. India no longer faces the famine and epidemics that made life expectancy barely more than 30 years at the time of its independence. Despite progress in food production, disease control, and economic and social development, India accounts for 40 percent of the world's malnourished children while containing less than 20 percent of the global child population. Malnutrition varies widely across regions, states, age, gender, and social groups, being worst in children under two, in the large northern states, and among women, tribal populations, and scheduled castes. Fortunately, the most severe form of malnutrition has declined by one-half in the past 25 years.
  3. 3. Malnutrition among young children and pregnant women-the most vulnerable groups-has three main causes: inadequate food intakes; disease, including common diarrhea; and deleterious caring practices, such as delayed complementary feeding. Poverty and gender inequity are among the most important factors responsible for the high level of undernourishment.
  4. 4. If India is to succeed in dealing with malnutrition, the first essential requirement is a higher level of sustained political commitment. This will require a policy and implementation structure that will actively lead, monitor, and sustain national, state, and local action in many sectors, including agriculture, industry, and water and sanitation.
  5. 5. Program-driven nutrition studies, i.e., operational research that emanates directly from constraints to program effectiveness, for example, in reducing low birth weight and anemia * Analysis of nutritional needs at the local level and means by which programs (TPDS, ICDS, health, water and sanitation, etc.) can be designed to meet these needs * Nutrition status measurement and determinants analyses, including surveys and qualitative studies * Scientific and technological research, especially on major problems such as anemia and nutrition-infection relationships * Studies on the nutrition consequences of new economic, including agriculture, and social policies and programs * Economic studies, such as cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses, of nutrition interventions.
  6. 6. Nutrition Monitoring. India needs to establish a broad-based, efficient system to collect and analyze nutrition data for use in decision-making and advocacy. The emphasis must be on collecting relevant and manageable amounts of high-quality information, not on large quantities liable to remain unused. Nutrition status data must be collected and made available at regular intervals, at least annually. The National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) was an excellent idea in this regard, but it has not been as active and rigorous as desirable. A carefully targeted and reliable system is urgently needed, using the best data collection, computerization, and analysis methods.
  7. 7. The changes need to achieve at least the following four objectives: * Improved targeting, especially to reach those children under two and pregnant women who are most at risk of malnutrition * Greatly enhanced quality of services and impact, particularly on behavioral change * A reliable monitoring and evaluation system as soon as possible * Community ownership and management of the program
  8. 8. To reduce malnutrition in India, the most critical resource is not financial but political commitment. Malnutrition fails to receive the priority it deserves in India, as in many countries, because it is largely invisible, program efforts do not extend across many sectors and levels, and, above all, sustained political commitment is lacking for the long and difficult task of prevention. Inadequate commitment to deal with the problem effectively also manifests itself in the pervasive corruption within the programs, which results in few resources reaching the poor. It is urgently necessary to address this problem. Political commitment to improved nutrition should be demonstrated by sustained allocation and proper direction of the necessary financial and human resources. Thank you for the opportunity.