Malnutrition And Stunting In Odisha Can Be Contained: Chief Secy

National Level Conclave on Childhood Stunting in India

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Bhubaneswar: “Malnutrition and Stunting in Odisha can be contained in near future,” said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra. He said this while addressing the National Level Conclave on Childhood Stunting in India held in the convention hall of Hotel Mayfair today.

Mahapatra added, “Odisha is the first State to introduce a separate nutrition budget”. State Government is now spending on social sector targeting health, education, nutrition and sanitation”. With around 96.5 lakh families covered under the food security programme, 75 000 AWCs actively involved in supplementary nutrition and Take Home Ration being carried through WSHGs,  MDM being served in  55000 schools with the active participation of WSHGs, Ahara Kendras in urban bodies, fortified rice and millets being introduced in PDS and supplementary nutrition; Odisha is all set for a targeted reduction in stunting and malnutrition.

Further, Mahapatra said that around cent per cent of “MDM cooking and feeding is being done through WSHGs”. The household level data collection on “malnutrition and stunting is being done through a robust and reliable method” with regular checkups at the AWC level.

With all these, added Mahapatra, Odisha is now ready to have an aggressive target for the reduction of malnutrition and stunting which would be possible to achieve in the coming few years. He also added, “the problem of stunting and malnutrition is multi dimensional”, and as such would need a wholistic action plan with concerted efforts among various departments.

Joining the conclave as Guests of Honour, Secretary of Women and Child Development Smt Subha Sharma, Nutrition Chief of UNICEF Mr Arjan de Wagt, Nutrition Expert Prof Srinath Reddy, and Chairperson Odisha State Food Security Commission Sri Pramod Kumar Merkap lighted upon various contours of malnutrition and child stunting. They threw light on hereditary, hormonal, regional, climatic and socio-economic correlates of the problem.  Chief Secretary Sri Mahapatra assured that Government would provide all financial and administrative support for concrete suggestions that would emerge from the deliberations in this national seminar.

The one-day Conclave was held in three sessions including the inaugural. The topics like Insights on childhood stunting from sub-national cases, Breaking the chain of malnutrition, Key takeaways on maternal, Child health and nutrition, and Moderating discussion on various recommendations were deliberated in these sessions. The learned experts and mandarins like Smt Anu Garg Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources;  Bijaya Kumar Panigrhai, Director Family Welfare; Dr S.B. Adnihotri Faculty of IIT Mumbai, DR L.K. Dwibedi, Dr Sanghamitra Pati, Director RMRC; Dr Shweta Khandwal, Head, Nutrition Research Public Health Foundation of India;  Dr Sridhar Kadam, Director, IIPH, Dr Rakeh Sarwal; Mr Sourav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist UNICEF presented the research papers with experiences from different parts of the globe.

On this occasion, the Chief Secretary opened a study report on Covid-19 and Nutrition in Odisha- ‘What does the Future hold’. The study was conducted by UNICEF with support from the Government of Odisha.  The Conclave was held under the joint aegis of the International and Food Policy Research Institute, the Government of Odisha, the World Bank and UNICEF.

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