Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, and the Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr. Munjpara Mahendrabhai,addressed a joint webinar on the “Importance of nutrition in first 1000 days, Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD) and Prevention and Management of Malnutrition” during 4th Rashtriya Poshan Maah, today.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Pawar said, “Good nutrition is important for the health of a country. It is related to the development of the country.” She further said that “malnutrition affects other indicators too like education and health.”
The Minister highlighted that “under Ayushman Bharat scheme, government has focused on improving the overall health of the people, while under Rashtriya Swasthya Mission, healthy life-cycle approach to reducing malnutrition is being undertaken.” She gave the examples of Anemia Mukt Bharat and Janani Suraksha Karyakaram to this end.
Dr Pawar expressed confidence that under the visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India will be successful in taking up the eradication of malnutrition as a ‘Jan Andolan’.
Dr Mahendrabhai highlighted that “community participation and inter-ministerial coordination between theWCD, MoHFW and other ministries will go a long way towards ensuring a malnutrition free India”.
The Minister also informed that “strong efforts are being made to not only raise awareness about healthy diets, but also provide access to diverse, nutritious, affordable and agro-climatically suitable diets by setting up Poshan Vatikas.”
Shri Vikas Sheel, Additional Secretary and Mission Director (NHM), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had delivered the welcome address.
Prof. Arun Singh, Department of Neonatology, AIIMS Jodhpur and Advisor, RBSK,emphasized that the country has to ensure good nutrition, stimulation and protection of women and child, especially pregnant women, since the development of neural network of children begins from pre-natal period.
Prof. Anura Kurpad, Department of Physiology, St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru, informed that there can be different types of malnutrition but the most common in India is undernutrition where 40% of children are stunted. He recommended public health intervention toensure dietary diversity.
Prof. H P S Sachdev, Sitaram Bhartiya Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, stated that ‘Acute malnutrition’ is a misnomer as it only emphasizes on food solutions. Nutrition, prevention of illness and consumption of homemade food is equally important. He also stated that there is no persuasive evidence to favour special products over homemade food since caloric and dietary needs can be met by specially formulated homemade food.
Senior officials of both the ministries were digitally present on the occasion.