The Intention of the ‘Child Nutrition Policy’ is clear but achieving its goals is an enormous challenge.
The policy aims to design various schemes that address malnutrition and set up a robust convergence mechanism. Access to Healthy and Nutritious Food is the backbone of human development. ‘Child Nutrition Scheme’ is a very ambitious program. Still, before we achieve what we want, there is a lot of work to be done on several issues ranging from sustainability and utilisation of funds to the ground level work. The sustenance of the programme will depend on the Investment in Nutrition Schemes. We also have to strengthen our monitoring and delivery system.
The Low’ s—
India faces considerable challenges in providing nutritious food to all, which subsequently leads to malnutrition, stunting and mortality eventually. The most vulnerable ones– are young children and pregnant or lactating mothers. ‘Malnutrition’ is a complex issue, primarily caused by several factors, including poverty, inadequate food consumption, improper maternal and infant feeding, gender imbalances, poor sanitary conditions, and restricted access to quality health, education and social care services. India struggles with a malnutrition crisis despite having more than over 30 government programs and schemes for maternal and child nutrition.
Lack of data monitoring, sustainability and accountability can impact the National Nutrition Mission or The Poshan Abhiyan, of the National Democratic Alliance, the government led by the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. This programme launched in March 2018, is a Ministerial Mission to ensure a Malnutrition-free India. The scheme also suffers from underutilization of the funds allotted. The protocol of the national council meeting on India’s Nutrition Challenges– highlighted concerns over a dismal utilisation of funds by the states.
The High’ s—
The National Nutrition Mission [NNM] is backed by a National Nutrition Strategy prepared by the NITI Aayog to attain “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat” or Malnutrition-free India, by the year 2022. The ‘Poshan Abhiyan of India’ [PAI], needs to focus on reaching households from the lowest socioeconomic strata and women with little education.
Millions will be benefited from NNM and PAI. The policies aim to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, and anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls, besides reducing low birth weight.
India is addressing the issue through the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) which provides Nutrition and Healthcare to children under six years and pregnant or lactating mothers. ICDS is one of the world’s most extensive nutrition programs that offer take-home food, hot cooked meals, health and nutrition-related education, healthcare check-ups, immunisations, growth monitoring and pre-school childcare services. ICDS was launched in 1975, after which it expanded. At present, about 85 million young children and 20 million pregnant women and lactating mothers benefit from the program.
India’s strategies have been customised by increasing coverage of the programme at the national level, including marginalised groups.
The Purpose of ICDS is to:
-improve the Nutritional and overall health of children between 0-6 years of age;
-to lay the foundation for psychological, physical and social development of the child;
-to reduce school dropouts and the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition;
-to enhance the capability of the mother via proper nutrition education to care for herself and her child’s health.
With so much said about child nutrition schemes, it can work if we make use of these policies, correctly.
EKAM Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, aims to puts forth, community development projects, complimenting the Government Healthcare System and not replacing it.
EKAM’s mission is happy, healthy children, mothers and the community. It works towards a creating ‘A Hunger-Free Nation’. If efforts are focused at all stages of their growth – as an infant, a child and as an adolescent, then the children will not only survive but live in a thriving environment too.
So, log onto www.ekamoneness.org to see how we can help to see our nation grow.