Representational Picture Courtesy-newsgram.com

Poshan Abhiyan (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment),launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 March 2018 aimed to improve nutritional status of children up to 6 years of age, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers though specific targets for stunting, underweight and low birth weight (reduction by 2 percentage points per year) and anemia (reduction by 3 percent per year),is going to be carried in Jharkhand.

"It is planned to be celebrated in September", states the UNICEF,Jharkhand,a prime body involved in the move.

In its report,UNICEF,Jharkhand informs that "Globally, undernutrition directly or indirectly contributes to almost half of the under-five mortality. Adequate nutrition during the first 1000 days - from conception to a child's second birthday, not only helps children survive and thrive, but supports them to reach their full growth and development potential, which has an impact on learning and educational outcomes and hence improving India's macroeconomic growth."

Why invest in nutrition?

§  As per Global Nutrition Report 2017, investing in nutrition offers $16 return for every $1 invested.

§    Around two-third of working population in India are earning 13 percent less because of childhood stunting (being too short for their age

§  India loses 2-3 % of GDP every year due to undernutrition among children under 2 years of age

§  All forms of malnutrition (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight) cost the global economy US$500 per individual per year

§  Children who escape stunting are 33% more likely to escape poverty as adults

Situation in Jharkhand

The key statistics from Jharkhand as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) are below.]

§  Every 2nd child below five years of age is short for his/her age: Stunted (Prevalence= 45%)

 

§  3 in 10 children below five years are too thin for their height: Wasted (Prevalence= 29%)

7 out of 10 children below five years are anemic (Prevalence= 69.9%)
7 out of 10 women in reproductive age are anemic (Prevalence= 65.2%)
5.8 lakh (approx) children below five years of age are severe acute malnourished or SAM (Prevalence=11.4%)

Approximately 2 million children (45.3%) under five years in Jharkhand are stunted, with a long-term impact on lowering learning capacity and increased school dropouts, lowering earning potential in adult life and intergenerational transfer of undernutrition and poverty.

Although 62% children in Jharkhand are born in health facilities only one-in-three children are put to breast within one hour of birth. Nearly one -third of infants do not get exclusive breast milk during the first six month of their life.”

In Jharkhand, there has been a decline in children 6-8 months who have been timely initiated complementary foods from 60% in 2005-06 to 47% in 2015-16. Only 7 % of children 6-23 months are fed diets that meet minimum levels of adequacy.

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