Poshan Abhiyan Current Affairs - 2019

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POSHAN Atlas to map crops

In order to tackle malnutrition, GoI is planning to develop an atlas to map crops and food grains grown all over the country. The initiative was launched by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani during the fifth National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges

Aim of the initiative

This is done to promote regional cropping pattern and nutritious protein rich food in local areas. It is being developed and implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The initiative will aid Poshan Abhiyan that is focusing on ensuring nutrition of women, children and pregnant mothers. The atlas is to be developed along with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Deenadayal Research Institute.

Outcomes of the Council meet

  • A system of ranking is to be introduced to acknowledge the unsung heroes of Poshan Abhiyan. It includes Anganwadi workers and ASHA workers who work tirelessly and selflessly. The ranking will be based on health and nutritional parameters and is to be developed by NITI Aayog
  • The council discussed about the challenges faced by aspirational districts that are lagging behind
  • The Anganwadi workers are to be trained in use of smart phones, tools to upload data, etc
  • The Ministry submitted its report of POSHAN Maah that was observed in September 2019

National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges

The National Council was established under Poshan Abhiyan. The key role of the council is to coordinate and review convergence among ministers. This is to help them providing policy directions to address nutrition challenges in India.

Objectives of the council
  • It provides policy directions through coordinated inter – sectoral action
  • The Council reviews programs for nutrition on quarterly basis.
  • It also reviews and coordinates convergence among ministries.

Nutrition Challenges in India

According to World Bank Global Nutrition Report, 2018, malnutrition costs around 10 billion USD annually in India. According to National Family Health Survey – 4 (2015 – 16), 48% of undernourished children suffer from stunting, 19.8% of undernourished children suffer from wasting and 42.5% of undernourished children suffer from underweight.

According to NITI Aayog, the problem of under nutrition was predominant in the states of Maharshtra, Goa, Karnataka, UP and Rajasthan.

Poshan Maa

The entire month of September was celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah. The Theme of 2019 Poshan Maa was “Complementary Feeding”. The purpose of celebrating Poshan Maa is to take the message of importance of nutrition to every nook and corner of the country. Also it aims to create awareness on complimentary food, treatment and prevention from infections in children.

National Nutrition Survey

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organized first National Nutrition Survey. The ministry took help from UNICEF to complete the survey. The survey was conducted between 2016 and 2018.

In India, for the first time the ministry measured malnutrition that included micro nutrient deficiencies. It was done by collecting urine samples and blood samples. Apart from this, details of non – communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, kidney function in children were also collected during the survey.

Key findings of the survey

  • Around 10% of children in the age group of 5 to 9 years and adolescents in the age group 10 to 19 years are pre – diabetic. 5% of them were overweight and 5% suffered from blood pressure.
  • The survey for the first time proved the coexistence of obesity and under nutrition.
  • One in five children in the age group 5 to 9 years were stunted.
  • Tamil Nadu and Goa had the highest number of adolescents who were obese or overweight.

About the survey

The survey covered more than 1,20,000 children and adolescents in rural and urban area. It aims to assess the following

  • Micro nutrient deficiencies
  • Sub clinical inflammation
  • Worm infestation.
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Cardio – metabolic risks

CDSA – Clinical Development Services Agency was selected as the monitoring agency.

National Nutrition Week

Recently India marked the National Nutrition Week between September 1 and September 7, 2019 and marked September as Poshan month. It is important to encourage such measures as the country has around 194.4 million undernourished people. According to Food and Agriculture Organization, they constitute 14.5% of the total Indian population.

Global Hunger Index, 2018

It ranked India at 103 out of 119 countries based on the following factors

  • Prevalence of stunting and wasting
  • Child mortality rate
  • Undernourishment

According to the index, India is suffering from serious problem of malnutrition

Global Nutrition Report, 2018

The Global Nutrition Report 2018, prepared by WHO, states that India is home to 46.6 million stunted children out of 150.8 million stunted children all over the world. The report also says that

  • Out of 50.5 million children who are wasted globally, 25.5 million are in India.
  • India is the third most obese nation in the world. WHO states India as Diabetes capital with 69.2 million suffering from diabetes.
  • India might lose 46 billion USD to malnutrition by 2030.

Steps taken by the Government of India to combat malnutrition

  • Poshan Abhiyan – It was launched in 2017 – 18 to reduce anemia, stunting, under – nutrition.
  • National Food Security act, 2013 – The act made food a legal right of the citizens. It aims to ensure food and nutrition security to the vulnerable.
  • Mid – day meal scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – Under the scheme, Rs 6,000 is transferred directly to bank accounts of pregnant women to avail facilities for their delivery.

What is malnutrition and under nutrition?

  • Malnutrition refers to the imbalanced in a person’s intake of nutrients or energy.
  • It broadly covers the following
    • Under nutrition – It includes
      • Stunting – Low height for age
      • Wasting – low weight for age
      • Underweight – Low weight for age
      • Micro nutrient deficiencies – lack of vitamins and minerals
    • Obesity – It includes overweight and non – communicable diseases like diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc.