Padma Shri Sudharak Olwe held a riveting panel discussion on malnutrition as part of his mission exhibition ‘War on Wasting’. The panel deliberated on two key themes i.e. ‘India’s wasted children: Malnutrition and its root causes’, and ‘Balanced bite in the sky: How can India improve its state of nutrition?’ in New Delhi recently.
The panel consisted of speakers including Prof M V Rajeev Gowda - Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha); Shailaja Chandra, Ex-Secretary Health, Government of India; Dr Vibhawari Dani, Pediatrician and Head of the Research Division, MAHAN (Meditation, AIDS, Health, De-Addiction, Nutrition) Melghat, Maharashtra; Dr Shweta Khandelwal, Head of Nutrition, Public Health Foundation of India; Dr. Chandrakant Pandav - Former Professor & Head – AIIMS; Raghwesh Ranjan - Director of the Social and Economic Empowerment Practice, IPE Global.
The discussion concluded with most experts on the panels calling for a community based approach [Community based management of Acute Malnutrition Model or CMAM] to address cases of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition, who do not show other medical complications. At present in India, mothers have to travel to the nearest Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres [NRCs] to get their children treated.
Distance to NRCs as well as time and effort to travel to centres have emerged as barriers for parents in management of such cases. Some panelists also advocated CMAM to prevent severe malnutrition.
Over the last few weeks, Padma Shri Sudharak Olwe, known to highlight the plight of marginalized sections in India, travelled to Chhattisgarh, Assam, Jharkhand and Maharashtra to understand precisely how deep-seated a malaise malnutrition is.