India signs cooperation agreement with World Food Programme for 2023-27
Malnutrition and infection are part of a vicious cycle: Experts
Micronutrient deficiency and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are important public health challenges and need to be addressed in right earnest. Micronutrients are not only important for development and growth but also for maintaining the immunity standards, said experts at a webinar organised by industry chamber ASSOCHAM in collaboration with CMAM Association of India recently. The webinar witnessed participation of all important stakeholders from the Government, Civil Society and Industry.
Dr. Sumita Ghosh (Additional Commissioner, In-charge Child Health, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India) stated that the improvements in National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) were unfortunately marginal and not on the expected lines. The levels of Micro nutrient deficiency were alarming with 67% of children at the national level being anaemic and that’s a big challenge to meet.
According to Dr Sujeet Ranjan of Tata Trusts, Community based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) was the globally recommended approach for SAM. Unfortunately, Community Management of Acute Malnutrition was yet to be adopted as a routine part of the government system since there wasn’t enough evidence with the policy makers and therefore there was no national policy around it yet.
Representing CMAM Association of India, Shilpee Bachhalsa said that 90% of the SAM children without complications do not require treatment at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres and can be treated at the community level itself. There is a need for national CMAM guidelines in handholding states in their efforts towards treating SAM. The CMAM guidelines should incorporate best practices from the various state programs run successfully. Rajasthan executed one of the most successful CMAM programs within which Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods were given to children.