The third Rashtriya Poshan Maah is being celebrated in September 2020 to address the problem of malnutrition in women and children. An initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the target of POSHAN Abhiyaan is to bring down stunting in children of 0-6 years of age from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Rashtriya Poshan Maah this year will be celebrated through digital platforms.
According to a recent UNICEF report, the Covid-19 pandemic may increase overall severe acute malnourished burden in the country.
According to data, India has 9.3 million children below the age of five who have severe acute malnutrition (SAM). As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4 (2015-16), as many as 35.7 per cent of children under five years of age are underweight, 38.4 per cent are stunted (low height for age), and 21 per cent are wasted (low weight for height). Malnutrition could further exacerbate the effects of Covid-19 in mothers and children, experts said.
At the same time, more children are becoming malnourished due to the deteriorating quality of their diet, interruptions in nutrition and other essential services and socioeconomic shocks created by the pandemic, stated a Lancet report.
The POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to reduce anaemia among women and adolescent girls in the age group of 15-49 years and reduce low birth weight.
The Rashtriya Poshan Maah will have two major activities at the grassroots level – identification and tracking of children with SAM and plantation drives to promote of kitchen gardens.
“Rashtriya Poshan Maah 2020 is an opportunity to create maximum awareness about the problem of malnutrition and reinforce the movement to achieve holistic nutrition under POSHAN Abhiyaan. Poshan Maah is inspiring and shows that we can make progress in a relatively short span of time with the right strategies and commitment. In the current crisis…it becomes even more pertinent to address…with multi-pronged and multi-sectoral actions,” said Dr Sujeet Ranjan, executive director, Coalition of Food and Nutrition Security.
“Community participation and responsibility through interventions such as Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari have power to break the ‘Culture of Silence’ for nutrition outcomes,” he added.
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