Stating that even though mortality rate has reduced to half in the past two decades, the malnutrition decline remains extremely slow, health activist Dr Abhay Bang said that malnutrition, if not controlled, can affect intellectual and cognitive ability of children. Bang, founder of Shodhagram, was speaking at a two-day event ‘Badalta Maharashtra’ organised by Loksatta on Tuesday.
Bang, who works to improve health parameters in Gadchiroli’s tribal pockets, said that two decades ago the most common causes of death revolved around plague, cholera, diarrhoea, and malnutrition which have now been replaced by non-communicable diseases such as stroke, heart diseases, cancer, drug addiction, asthma, suicides and mental illness.
The seminar, Badalta Maharashtra, this year focussed on issue of ‘State of health in Maharashtra’ in its 13th edition. In previous editions, the seminar focused on electricity, education and pharma. According to Bang, undernourishment is detected in 34 per cent children in the state and is one of the biggest health concerns in state. “Pollution, lack of exercise, tobacco intake, alcohol intake, and mental stress have become main causes of global diseases,” he said, adding that illiteracy and corruption in government ranks has made it difficult to tackle problem of malnutrition.
Emphasising on the need for insurance, he said that per capita spending of government remains insufficient. Bang added that the government should at least float schemes to provide health insurance to economically backward classes, and companies should provide insurance to its employees. “Those who can afford should have insurance schemes for themselves,” he said.