Tuesday, 22 April 2014 08:21




Malnutrition is a broad term which refers to both undernutrition (subnutrition) and overnutrition. Individuals are malnourished, or suffer from undernutrition if their diet does not provide them with adequate calories and protein for maintenance and growth, or they cannot fully utilize the food they eat due to illness. People are also malnourished, or suffer from overnutrition if they consume too many calories.

Malnutrition can also be defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of nutrients.  Micronutrient malnutrition has many adverse effects on human health. Even moderate levels of deficiency (which can be detected by biochemical or clinical measurements) can have serious detrimental effects on human function. Worldwide, the three most common forms of MNM are iron, vitamin A and iodine deficiency.

Government Initiatives to combat malnutrition

a) Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS):

It was launched in 1975 with the following objectives: to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child; to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout. It provides supplementary nutrition, immunization, regular health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and nutrition & health education.

Government has recently approved strengthening and restructuring of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme with a budget allocation of Rs. 1,23,580 crore during 12th Five Year Plan.

b) Sabla Scheme:

With the objective of improving the nutritional and health status of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years and empower them by providing education in life-skills, health and nutrition, the Government of India has introduced the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls - SABLA in November, 2010. The Scheme also aims at equipping girls with information on family welfare, health and hygiene, existing public services, etc., and to draw out-of-school girls into the formal or non-formal education systems.

The focus of the Scheme is primarily on out-of-school girls. An integrated package of services ― comprising nutrition and non-nutrition components ― are provided to adolescent girls, the ‘Nutrition Component’ targeting out-of-school girls between 11 and 14 and all girls in the 14-18 age-group.

The beneficiaries in 2011-12 were 100.77 lakhs and during 2012-13 are 88.49 lakhs so far.

c) Mid- Day Meal Scheme:

The Mid Day Meal Scheme by Department of School Education and Literacy has a provision for providing hot cooked mid day meal to children studying in class I to VIII in Government, Government aided, local body schools as well as children studying in the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) schools and centres run under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) / Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) centres including Madarsas/ Maktabs supported under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

During 2011-12, 10.54 crore children & in 2012-13, 10.43 crore children were covered under the Mid -Day Meal Scheme in the country.

d) Reproductive and Child Health Programme:

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and under its umbrella, the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, seeks to improve the availability and access to quality health care including Maternal and Child Health services particularly to rural population throughout the country. Some of the key steps undertaken through this programme are promotion of institutional deliveries through Janani Suraksha Yojana; capacity building of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care; antenatal and postnatal care including Iron and Folic Acid supplementation to pregnant & lactating women for prevention and treatment of anaemia; Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) (launched on 1st June, 2011) which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section ; Village Health and Nutrition Days in rural areas as an outreach activity, for provision of maternal and child health services ; operationalisation of Sub-centers, Primary Health Centers, Community Health Centres and District Hospitals for providing 24x7 basic and comprehensive obstetric care services.

Under NRHM, the Twelfth Plan strategy seeks to strengthen initiatives taken in the Eleventh Plan to expand the reach of health care and work towards the long term objective of establishing a system of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country. Maternal and child care will continue to focus on reduction of IMR and MMR.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 07:14