Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • The National Nutrition Mission or the Poshan Abhiyaan — the world’s largest nutrition programme for children and mothers — must be stepped up in order to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting, and anaemia by 2022, warns a report by NITI Aayog with only a little over a year left to reach its goals.
  • “Accelerating Progress on Nutrition In India: What Will It Take” is the third progress report on the National Nutrition Mission or the Poshan Abhiyaan by the NITI Aayog.

Highlights of the Report

  • The third progress report (October 2019-April 2020) takes stock of the roll-out status on the ground and implementation challenges encountered at various levels through large scale datasets.
  • The initial Reports I and II, focused majorly on the mission’s preparedness and implementation by States and UTs, respectively.
  • On stunting, India’s targets are conservative as compared to the global target defined by the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is a prevalence rate of 5% of stunting as opposed to India’s goal of reducing stunting levels to 13.3% by 2022.
  • The target of reducing prevalence levels of anaemia among pregnant women from 50.3% in 2016 to 34.4% in 2022 and among adolescent girls from 52.9% in 2016 to 39.66%, is also considered to be conservative as compared to the WHA’s target of halving prevalence levels.
  • In the wake of the pandemic, experts warn that deepening poverty and hunger may delay achieving the goals defined under the Mission.

Way Forwards Suggested

  1. To improve complementary feeding using both behaviour change interventions and complimentary food supplements in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
  2. To work towards investments in girls and women (education during childhood, reducing early marriage and early pregnancy, improving care during and after pregnancy) along with other social determinants.
  3. To improve water, sanitation, handwashing with soap and hygienic disposal of children’s stools with other effective interventions.
  4. To include interventions that go beyond the treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and also address moderate wasting, have the potential to achieve larger declines in wasting.
  5. To scale-up to reach facility-based treatment of SAM to all those needing in-patient care.
  6. To urgently release a full strategy for prevention and integrated management of wasting nationally.
  7. To scale-up scenario that focuses only on health sector interventions which will achieve modest improvements in anaemia among women of reproductive age.

Poshan Abhiyaan

  • Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched in 2018 by the Prime Minister in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
  • It targets to reduce level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes
  • It also targets stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and low birth rate.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by on-going World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.
  • Its vision is to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.

-Source: The Hindu

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