Need to step up efforts to meet nutrition targets, says NITI Aayog report
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.
Significantly, the review report was drafted in March and does not factor worsening poverty and hunger levels over the past seven months, which is expected to dent strides made since 2018 to achieve nutritional targets.
The government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers was launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022. It aims to reduce stunting and wasting by 2% per year (total 6% until 2022) among children and anaemia by 3% per year (total 9% until 2022) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers. More than a third of children under five suffer from stunting and wasting and 40% of children between one and four are anaemic. Over 50% of pregnant and non-pregnant women were found to be anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey-4 released in 2016.
The government’s policy think tank warns, “we need to now accelerate actions on multiple fronts. We need to quickly graduate to a POSHAN-plus strategy which apart from continued strengthening the four pillars of the Abhiyaan also requires renewed focus on other social determinants in addition to addressing the governance challenges of NHM/ ICDS delivery mechanisms,” notes the NITI Aayog’s third progress report on the Nutrition Mission.