Malnutrition Free India-2022: Maneka Gandhi
Subsequent to eliminating chickenpox and polio, women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi is all set to initiate national nutrition strategy which aims at ensuring every child, adolescent girl and woman attain optimal nutritional status by 2022.
Speaking on the sidelines of National Conference on “Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition”, Gandhi said, “The government will soon issue guidelines on supplementary nutrition to tackle malnutrition among children. The new guidelines will supersede all existing ones. It should not be difficult for the country to overcome the problem of malnutrition.
The problem of malnutrition is inter-generational and is dependent on multiple factors which inter-alia, include proper Infant & Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, Immunization, Institutional Delivery, Early Childhood Development, Food Fortification, Deworming, access to safe drinking water & proper sanitation (WASH), Dietary diversification, full ANC checkup, early initiation of breast feeding, ICT enabled real time monitoring and implementation of Anganwadi Services, Improving infrastructure of Anganwadi Centres along with training of Anganwadi workers and other related factors.
These factors can also be Area specific or dependent on particular geographical conditions. Further, it requires a convergent approach among all the three departments i.e. Health & Family Welfare, ICDS/Social Welfare and Drinking Water and Sanitation to tackle the issue of malnutrition comprehensively and conclusively.
“After the resounding success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme, the women and child development ministry is now targeting malnutrition. For this, there is an urgent need to improve the quality of supplementary nutrition and also make the delivery system efficient,” said Gandhi.
“We must provide 1,000 calories to women and 600 calories to children under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). The focus of the entire programme should be to administer nutrition rather than feeding beneficiaries by giving “Nutrient Dense Food”. A change in policy is required to implement this,” she added.