More than 220 million people in India are undernourished. Despite improvements over the years, India continues to face high levels of malnutrition, with women and children facing a higher burden. Optimal nutrition is critical for pregnant women and children under-five. It affects the immediate and long-term growth, development and health of the offspring and prevents negative consequences.
As per NFHS 5, one in every 3 children in India is stunted, and one in every 5 is wasted. India contributes to 40% of the world’s children with low birth weight and one-third of the stunted children in the world. 68% of under-five deaths in India are attributed to maternal and child under-nutrition.
Under the National Prophylaxis Programme Against Nutritional Blindness, Government of India provides concentrated dose of Vitamin A Supplementation to children under-5 across the country. However, as reported by National Family Health Surveys, a significant part of children in hard-to-reach communities remain unreached by this program because of several factors. This results in increased risk of morbidity and mortality among children under-5 living in hard-to-reach communities.
A concerted effort and collaboration are needed across various sectors to make significant strides towards achieving its nutrition-related goals and ensuring a healthier and more food-secure future for its citizens. To address the challenges posed by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 and 3, which focus on zero hunger and good health and well-being, a collaborative approach is essential. By bringing together stakeholders with diverse capabilities and resources, we can work towards achieving a common goal across the country.