Addressing malnutrition: Measures needed

According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 conducted in 2015-16, 21 per cent of children in India under-5 suffered from Moderate Acute Malnourishment (MAM) and 7.5 per cent suffered from Severe Acute Malnourishment (SAM).

  • Reduce the burgeoning burden of acute malnutrition and ensure early identification and treatment of SAM children to stop them from further slipping into the vicious cycle of malnutrition.
  • Enrol such children in Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres.
  • The second step is, treatment of SAM children without any complications at community level through Village Child Development Centre (VCDC) by using different centrally and locally produced therapeutic food.
  • These energy-dense formulations are often at the core of nourishing the children since they are fortified with critical macro- and micro-nutrients. It ensures that the target population gains weight within a short span of six to eight weeks.
  • Follow up of such children is needed to prevent relapse of malnutrition and ensure adequate food supply to the target population.
  • ASHA workers must be given adequate remuneration to be able to carry out this responsibility with more rigour.

Nutrition is not a peripheral concern rather a central to our existence; a pro-equity agenda that mainstreams nutrition into food systems and health systems, supported by strong financing and accountability is the greatest need. Only five years are left to meet the 2025 global nutrition targets, while the time is running out, the focus should be on an action that provides the maximum impact.