Malnutrition among children is a huge challenge and enhancing community engagement and collaboration is a must to help tackle it, health and nutrition experts at an online panel discussion said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the discussion, Dr Meeta Mathur, senior technical advisor at Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security (CFNS), New Delhi, said, “Community engagement is an important aspect, but it becomes superficial in absence of continuous engagement. We have to relook at how we can engage with the community differently. We need to engage religious leaders, faith healers, mothers-in-law, teachers, etc. in addressing the challenges. We must also look to involve women’s collectives, self-help groups, and mother support groups.”
The online panel discussion on the theme ‘Kuposhan se suposhan ki or-Meeting the challenges of mitigating malnutrition’ was organised by FMCG major Adani Wilmar to mark the commencement of poshan maah (nutrition month).
In her address, Urvashi Prasad, public policy specialist at NITI Aayog, said that communities need to be engaged with a rights-based approach to health.
Dr Rupal Dalal, Director of Health and Nutrition at Shrimati Malati Dahanukar Trust, said that malnutrition also affects aging and appearance, growth, development, immune system, energy, when the children grow up.
“Thirty-eight percent of children are stunted due to lack of adequate growth nutrients. However, malnutrition does not only mean starving children but also not having proper nutrition. Around 22 per cent of the richest and 30 per cent of the middle-class children are malnourished,” she said.
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