December 9, 2014

nutrition-securityOdisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar, Dec 9: If a child is malnourished, the mortality risk associated with respiratory infections, diarrhoea, malaria, measles, and other infectious diseases is increased, stressed the experts attending the state level dissemination meeting on release of new ‘Action Agenda for Nutrition Security in India’ developed by the task force of the Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security in India, at Bhubaneswar today.Speaking on the occasion, S.Peppin from XIMB said “Nutrition is not a health issue; rather it is a holistic issue.When a child/girl is abused, the entire media is there but when a child dies of malnutrition there is no action”.The dissemination meeting on release of new ‘Action Agenda for Nutrition Security in India’ developed by the task force of the Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security in India was organised by ‘Save the Children’, a leading international NGO and child rights organisation.The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security in India which is a group of organisations and individuals concerned with the unacceptable levels of malnutrition prevailing in the country, has been working together to influence policies and programmes for a nutrition secure India.The Coalition, established in 2007 is chaired by M S Swaminathan and comprises of members who are experts in their respective fields and have united in an effort to improve nutrition security.Save the Children India is hosting the secretariat of the Coalition.A series of expert task force consultations were organised at the national level to review the Leadership Agenda for Action (2010 version).The recommendations of the Action Agenda for Nutrition Security are intended to strengthen national and state level nutrition actions.The recommendations are based on a review of the current evidence and approaches to achieve nutrition security.The Coalition has reviewed and released this Leadership Agenda for Action to promote policy, programme and budgetary focus on overcoming the curse of malnutrition.Recognised that, malnutrition as a complex and multi-dimensional issue, affected by poverty, inadequate food consumption, inequitable food distribution, improper infant and child feeding and care practices, equity and gender imbalances, poor sanitary and environmental conditions and limited access to quality health, education and social services.Therefore, the Leadership Agenda for Action takes a broad and multi-sect oral view of nutrition security.Enabling Environment for Accelerating and Improving Essential Nutrition Actions Equitably includes ensuring food and nutrition security, improving access to potable water and sanitation services, improving access to health services, ensuring universal access, retention and completion of secondary education, with special focus on girls from vulnerable groups.The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security proposes this Action Agenda for Nutrition Security to help us move forward in an effective manner to achieve nutrition security in India.Specific essential areas of action for each of the five urgent areas of action are outlined below. I.Institutionalise leadership for nutrition within Prime Minister and Chief Minister OfficesII.Accord high priority for universal coverage of selected evidence-based essential nutrition interventions (Enis) with special focus on children under two years of age, pregnant women and adolescent girls.III.Finance and deliver at scale the essential nutrition interventions (ENI) with active attention to operationalisation of interventions with equity.IV.Ensure equitable access to food security including dietary diversity, primary health care, safe drinking water, environmental and household sanitation and address gender issues pertaining to women’s education and delaying age of conception.V.Position nutrition as indicator of development and establish a reliable system for periodic updates of nutrition data.According to a press release issued on the occasion, more than one third of the world’s malnourished children live in India.Malnutrition is more common in India than in sub-Saharan Africa.According to the 2005-06, National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 20 % of Indian children under five years old were wasted (acutely malnourished) and 48 % were stunted (chronically malnourished).Importantly, with 43 % of children underweight (with a weight deficit for their age) rates of child underweight in India are twice higher than the average figure in sub-Saharan Africa (22 %).In Odisha, according to this National Family Health Survey (NHFS–3), 39.5% of children under 3 years are underweight while 43.9% are stunted or too short for their age, and 23.7% are wasted or measured low weight for height of the children.Under-five children mortality is largely a result of infectious diseases and neonatal deaths.Under-nutrition is an important factor contributing to the death of young children.

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