Recrafting India nutrition initiative

Source– The post is based on the article “Recrafting India nutrition initiative” published in The Indian Express on 5th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Poverty and hunger

News– The article explains the issues of health and nutrition in India

According to RGI, India’s maternal mortality rate was 97 during 2018-20. It was 301 during 2001-03.Infant mortality rate was 27 in 2021. It was 58 in 2005.

As per NFHS-5, 35.5% of children under 5 are stunted, 19.3% are wasted.

What is NRHM?

NRHM was launched in 2005 to provide accessible and affordable healthcare. It also provides secondary and tertiary services .

It seems to have a positive impact on health indicators. Though allocations for NRHM did not keep pace.

What explains the gains of NRHM? It had a clear thrust on crafting a credible public health system. Community connect, human resources and flexible financial resources are available at all levels.

Central. State governments partnered with civil society with full involvement of frontline workers. Community monitoring was done by civil society.

The approach was pragmatic and provided for diversity of state-specific interventions. The planning was decentralised. States and districts prepared their own annual plans.

Institution building was facilitated in work with panchayats and Rogi Kalyan Samitis. Professionals were brought in to improve the process.

Why the programmes to reduce malnutrition has not been successful?

Poshan Abhiyan is not able to solve the chal;lenges of malnutrition.

The initiatives for nutrition have remained compartmentalised and fragmented.

Institutional role of local panchayats and communities with untied funds is still lagging.

What steps are needed to tackle the challenge of malnutrition?

ICDS needs to be revamped to converge with health, education, water, sanitation and food security at all levels under the local government umbrella,

It is important to allow for context-specific and need-based prioritisation at every Anganwadi centre by allowing flexibility through decentralised local action.

Gram panchayats, women collectives and community organisations should be responsible for education, health, nutrition and livelihoods. Panchayats led committees of concerned wider departments are needed at block and district zila parishad level.

There is a need for operationalizing village-specific planning processes with decentralised financial resources.

Encouraging diversity of local foods including millets and ensuring availability of basic drugs and healthcare facilities are required.

There is a need to intensify behaviour change through communication.

Creating a platform for adolescent girls in every village for their empowerment and diversified livelihood is needed.

It calls for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. Nutrition challenge is also a women empowerment challenge. Decentalised is the way forward.

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