President & Group Managing Director: Dr.Shelly Ahmed | Editor in Chief & Group CEO: M H Ahssan

Saturday, March 23, 2013

‘Malnutrition Quit India’ – A Campaign For Better India

India being the largest democracy with many dominating and booming sectors has improved a lot on its literacy rate and other such things at a global level. But still many evils prevail in India, strongly impacting the society and development of the nation as a whole. One of the biggest among these is ‘Malnutrition’. Each year many innocent children die due to malnutrition as they do not get enough food or food they get is of low quality. Above that, lack of health facilities, cleanliness and awareness are further aggravating the problem.

The situation is so grave at present that it needs an immediate action. Moreover, today, India has enough food and resources that all her deprived children can be fed. But data shows that each year many children died of malnutrition. On one side we talk about development, and on the other hand our children are not getting enough food. How can we sleep so peacefully at night? But it does not mean that India is sleeping. At last there is a wakeup call and government is now working towards the problem of malnutrition in India. To work in this direction, a campaign ‘Malnutrition Quit India’ was launched by the Ministry for Women and Child Development (MWDC), Government of India in Nov 2012. Actor Amir Khan, who is also the UNICEF brand ambassador for malnutrition, is the face of this campaign. He has shot 40 films to make people aware of malnutrition and its associated threats. It is really a good initiative. Moreover after his successful television talk show (Satyamev Jayate) on social issues of India people have started recognizing him as a social leader who can bring about change.

Apart from this there are many programs that have been initiated before this with the same objective of feeding every child of India. Midday meal scheme by the Akshaya Patra Foundation, Integrated child development scheme, National Rural Health Mission are few to name among these. India at present needs more initiations of these kinds, but with full involvement of persons handling these campaigns without any self interest. Even a single grain should reach to the neediest person than getting decayed in warehouses. 

There should be no corruption involved in this good cause. But in spite of all such things, millions of people in India are still living below the poverty line and malnourished. Though we have surplus food but it is not reaching to the one who needs it more and this is the major problem. This can be attributed to corruption and mismanagement, which is not allowing the right distribution of food. In various villages government has opened subsidized food shop that get fund from the Public Distribution System (PDS). These are supposed to give 35 kg of rice or grain in a month to every family that is living below the officially declared poverty line. But most of the times these do not contain enough supply to meet the demand.

Not only this, each day enough food gets wasted in most of the houses in India as we cook a new dish and neglect the old one that ultimately gets damaged in the refrigerator or on our kitchen shelf. Start realizing the value of food. Give this to needy so that at least for a day a deprived person can have something to eat because of you. Also if a person can afford then he or she should be a part of NGOs which are helping undernourished children and help these with food grains. This will definitely adds to the government’s effort of making better India.

Close to 42.5 per cent of Indian children suffer from malnutrition which means that every second child is not getting enough food. On the other hand 11% of population in India is over nourished, consuming extra or wrong calories. All across the world, number of underweight children is highest in India and it is a further astonishing fact that this number is double than the one in Sub-Saharan Africa region.

A study by the Save the Children shows that India’s rank in child development is even lower than most of the poor countries in world.

Malnutrition engulfs children and lead to their death. Of all the deaths, 50% of children deaths are due to undernourishment  Lack of proper food make a child more prone to certain diseases like diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia and measles that ultimately cause the death of a child, though all these diseases are curable.

State of Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of malnutrition cases (55%), whereas Kerala has the lowest (27%).Because of the gender discrimination in India, girls suffer more than boys.

A malnourished child will develop into an adult having less physical and mental growth as the damage caused by the poor availability of food in the first two years of life is almost impossible to be reversed back. This will create an altogether a low income strata in the society.

Further illiterate mothers do not know what is right for their children who suffer from undernourishment  This is another problem that has to be tackled. Though good campaigns will surely play their role in reducing the problem but there should be a system in which the food should be made available to these people directly without the involvement of so called chains. For this, first of all such areas and individuals have to be identified then the food grains from the closet grain market should be given to them.

Another very obvious cause of malnutrition is the terrible state of public health and this includes poor availability of pure drinking water, lack of sanitation facilities, knowledge of cleanliness and its importance. Along with food supply people living in remote areas need to be taught about the importance of all these. This will help in reducing the gastrointestinal diseases thus assist in lessening the impact of malnutrition though won’t eliminate it completely. This will then definitely help the government in achieving success like their accomplishment in Polio eradication program.
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