Wednesday, December 8, 2021
EditorialsEditorial: Ignominy of Hunger Index

Editorial: Ignominy of Hunger Index

Published: 19th Oct 2021 12:00 am | Updated: 18th Oct 2021 6:43 pm

One may disagree with the methodology used in preparing the Global Hunger Index (GHI) but India cannot ignore the fact that it has failed to tackle the widespread problem of child malnutrition and that it is home to one-third of all malnourished children in the world. The latest rankings of the Global Hunger Index reveal how India continues to lag behind its poorer neighbours, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, on multiple child nutrition indicators. Ranked 101 out of 116 countries on the index this year, compared with 94th position out of 107 last year, India needs to examine the drawbacks in the current policies and look for more effective solutions. The GHI report, prepared by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welthungerhilfe, paints a grim picture and highlights the devastating impact of the pandemic-related restrictions on child nutrition. The GHI tracks four key parameters for a comprehensive measure of hunger: undernourishment, child stunting (low height for age), child wasting (low weight for age) and child mortality (number of children dying before age 5). India is said to have the highest child-wasting rate, reflecting acute under-nutrition. Malnourishment in early childhood has a long-lasting negative impact on health and education. It also has economic implications for both the children affected and their communities. Though the government has dubbed the report as unscientific, it must be pointed out that the official data from the National Family Health Survey of 2019–20 says that things have deteriorated on the malnourishment front. More than half the surveyed States reported that every third child below five suffers from chronic malnourishment.

- Advertisement -

India must first acknowledge the severity of the problem and then recalibrate strategies to ensure desired results. Glaring gaps in the implementation of anti-poverty programmes, lack of effective monitoring, multiple agencies working in silos while tackling malnutrition and poor performance by large States are among the factors responsible for the poor ranking. The food security situation is not an issue given the huge stocks of foodgrains in government warehouses. The problems lie in distribution. Lack of awareness about nutritional requirements is also a problem that needs to be addressed. Feeding the children more animal-sourced and vitamin A-rich food would help reduce their malnutrition rates. Child and maternal malnutrition also contribute significantly to the total disease burden. Programmes of the Integrated Child Development Services scheme, which cover pregnant and lactating mothers, and Poshan Abhiyaan are critical instruments. Any shortcoming or underperformance plays a huge role in slowing down the pace of improvement. An acknowledgement of what is not working despite the best of intentions is the first step to finding solutions.

Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.

Click to follow Telangana Today Facebook page and Twitter .

Also Read

- Advertisement -

Latest News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -