Updated: November 18, 2017 6:19:01 pm
Child and maternal malnutrition continue to account for most death and disability in Gujarat, besides dietary risk and air pollution, according to a recent report, India: Health of the Nation’s States. The report, prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, provides estimates of the impact of 333 diseases and injuries and 84 risk factors for every state from 1990 to 2016.
According to the study, malnutrition caused maximum death and disability in 1990 and maintained its position till 2016, especially among the children in the age group of 0-9 years.
In 1990, malnutrition caused 36.1 per cent death and disability, while in 2016, it caused 14.6 per cent death and disability. Dietary risk caused 10.4 per cent death and disability in 2016 while air pollution caused 9.1 per cent death and disability. Air pollution was also the third risk factor in 1990, causing 10.2 per cent death and disability.
“Nutrition has always been a challenge and we are collaborating with the National Institute of Nutrition to make an atlas to understand where are we going wrong in eating habits. We want to make sure that the existing programmes to deal with malnutrition are targeted in places where we see a lot of cases,” said Health Commissioner Dr Jayanti Ravi.
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The study also reveals a very high percentage of deaths among children in the age group of 0-14 years in 2016. At 10.6 per cent, Gujarat stands at number six in India in the index.
“This is a very telling tale of the health status of children. It also, in a sense, reflects the nutritional status of mothers when low birth-weight babies are born whose chances of survival are greatly compromised,” said Dr Leela Visaria, honorary professor at Gujarat Institute of Development Research.
Visaria added among the 18 major states, well-developed Gujarat has a dubious distinction of being closer on this measure to states like Madhya Pradesh and Assam.
“As much as 10.6 per cent of the total deaths in the state in 2016 was in the age group of 0-14. It is worse than Maharashtra, which is at 6 per cent, and even Orissa at 9 per cent. Gujarat may promote medical tourism in a big way but it continues to ignore the health and survival of its children and women. It is very evident from the findings of the recently-released ICMR report,” said Visaria.
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