MoU signed between AYUSH Ministry and MoWCD to control Malnutrition

The Ministry of Ayush and Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to control malnutrition in the country, On September 20, 2020 . The MoU was signed under the Poshan Abhiyaan.

Key Facts

  • Women and Child Development Ministry would initiate scientifically proven and user based solutions to control malnutrition in the country.
  • Medicinal  and nutri Gardens would be established at the Anganwadi centres.
  • Under that MoU, specific areas has been identified for co-operation:
    1. Integration of AYUSH into POSHAN Abhiyaan.
    2. Controlling malnutrition through the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Ayush initiatives.
  • The MoU seeks to implement following activities:
    1. Yoga programmes at Anganwadi centers.
    2. Visit of AYUSH workforce to Anganwadi centers once in a month.
    3.  Sensitization meeting of AYUSH medical officers with Anganwadi workers.
    4. Development of Poshan Vatika.
    5. Generation of baseline data in nutritional status of targeted population.
    6. Implementation of region specific nutrition values.
  • The Anganwadi worker may be designated as ‘DHATRI’ – Dedicated Health Activist to Replenish the Innutrition, who is providing the Ayurveda nutrition messages at the ground level.
  • The Ministries will also launch the hashtag #Ayush4Anganwadi to generate awareness on the activities through digital media.

Reports on Malnutrition

  • As per the reports of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 194.4 million people are undernourished in India. It is about 14.5 % of the total population.
  • In the Global Hunger Index, India ranked 102 out of 117 countries in 2019.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reported in 2017 that, malnutrition was the major cause of death of children under 5 years of age in that year.
  • Global burden of disease study 2017 also reports that, malnutrition is the leading cause of death and disability in India.
  • Global Nutrition Report, 2020:
    1. According to the report,  one in two women of reproductive age in India is anaemic.
    2. 20.8% of children are wasted while 37.9% of children are stunted.
    3. India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss Global nutrition targets by 2025.

What are the Causes of malnutrition?

Major causes of Malnutrition includes- Poverty, Poor health conditions of lactating mothers, Social inequalities, poor hygiene and sanitation, lack of nutritious and  diversified food, poor food security provisions and  failure of government initiatives.

Initiatives in India

  1. Integrated Child Development Scheme, to provide food supplements and improve the dietary intake for poor and marginalized children.
  2. Mid-day-meal scheme, to serve children with fresh cooked meals in all the government run schools or schools aided by the government fund.
  3. Food for Life Annamrita programme is run by ISKCON Food Relief Foundation and the Akshaya Patra Foundation which are the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal programmes.
  4. National Plan of Action for Children, under which, India is signatory to 27 survival and development goals of the World Summit on children 1990.
  5. National Rural Health Mission, to improve the availability and access to quality health care by people.
  6. Poshan Abhiyaan to spread awareness and to improve nutritional intakes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The Ayush ministry is also contributing and taking specific measures that includes right intake of diet by pregnant women, feeding practices by lactating mothers, use of traditional products to augment milk secretion and nutritional food for children.