The “HUNGaMA” report
HUNGaMA is an initiative of the Naandi Foundation that aims to create a hungama - Hindi for ‘stir’ or ‘ruckus’ - for change in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The centrepiece is a dipstick survey covering over 100 of Indian districts - representing over 160 million people and about 1 in 5 Indian children - including many areas most at risk of being malnutrition danger zones. By generating new data on malnutrition across India, HUNGaMA strives to empower and mobilize citizens to stand up and call for change at every level, from the villages and communities to the highest levels of policymaking. (https://www.hungamaforchange.org)
42 per cent of children are underweight and 58 per cent are stunted by the age of 24 months. Reasons: adequate nutrition is not seen as a human right and the malnourished have little voice in determining the directions of policy.
There is inadequate consensus on what needs to be done. Politicians and senior officials do not give programmes addressing malnourishment the priority they deserve some myths that need to be demolished before significant progress can be made.
The first is that malnutrition is about inadequate food intake. Many children in food-secure environments are underweight or stunted because of inappropriate infant feeding and care practices, poor access to health services, or poor sanitation.
The second myth is that improved nutrition only comes with economic progress and poverty reduction. (Bangladesh, for instance, is a country with a per capita GNI almost half of India. However, Bangladesh has succeeded in reducing infant mortality, under-five mortality and stunting to rates that are lower than those we have in India in the course of fewer than 10 years.) What needs to be done: Following a “life cycle” approach, these should begin with the health of the woman before the pregnancy begins and address all the critical stages of the birth and development of the baby. handwashing with soap, use of household filters for purification of water and use of sanitary latrines To make lasting improvements, interventions should go beyond the direct causes of malnutrition, diet and disease burden.
Levels of economic development, governance structures including the political will are necessary to address this issue. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the National Rural Health Mission and the Total Sanitation Campaign = engagement with the communities who need the help most is the need of the day, there is a need for evolving strategies separately for urban and rural areas. Local government agencies — Panchayats and municipalities and other stakeholders like women’s groups, NGOs, academic institutions. Three key elements should be kept in mind to make such an approach successful. These are Coordination, Convergence and Monitoring.
The crucial period for the mother and the child is the period of pregnancy and the first two years of the life of the child. This is also the window of opportunity to bring these interventions together in a way that the foundations of good health and nutrition are laid once and for all. The bulk of infant deaths occur in the neo-natal period of about a month after birth. Neonatology and perinatal care have made considerable advances and if we can ensure that all health facilities handling deliveries are fully equipped. all health facilities handling deliveries are fully equipped.
HUNGaMA 2011 Survey Report :- https://www.hungamaforchange.org/HungamaBKDec11LR.pdf