Can you believe that India is still vastly hungrier than Africa! Yes, it is true that though there is steady and widespread fall in malnutrition, but we still lack behind. According to study by UNICEF; In India 20% of children under 5 years suffers from wasting. 43% children under 5 years are underweight and 48% are stunted due to chronic malnutrition. There is an improvement in the statistics due to rapid economic growth and rising household incomes and also more spending on midday meals in India, Madhya Pradesh has cut the proposition of its children who go hungry from 60% to 36%, Bihar from 56% to 37%. Maharashtra from 37% to 25%.
Even after such improvement in UP children are still below normal height and weight. The most common reason is that mothers are undernourished themselves. Mothers and girls get less food to eat, less health care and lack of education than males. More than half of the girls aged between 15-18 had low Body Mass Index, which are more liker to produce undernourished babies.
In India :
1) Only 25% of newborns are put to breast within one hour of birth.
2) Only 20% of children are fed appropriately.
3) More than 70% children are anaemic and many other problems.
Amartya Sen nobel prize winner economist says Mr. Modi doesn’t provise strong leadership on health policy. He notes that spending in health care fell this year’s national budget. India is hardly devoting 1% of GDP to it. Even in African countries, proposition of children who are underweight is 21% well below India’s level. To improve India’s status country has to act like Maharashtra where they have excellently handled malnutrition, they have identified 4 crucial changes that are :
a) better and more frequent feeding of infants
b) more care for pregnant women
c) higher household incomes
d) rise in age at which women begin having babies.
There is an urgent need for some strong policies to be implemented to improve the status of health in India.