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Indian President launches campaign against malnutrition

Nov 20, 2012

Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, has launched a nationwide IEC campaign against malnutrition. The campaign is an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Calling the data of undernutrition as a matter of concern, the President stated: “We must do our utmost, at a time when Indian economy is on a strong positive growth trajectory. These figures are a wakeup call and underline the need for concerted drive against malnutrition, and until we ensure good nutrition and health for our children and their mothers we cannot achieve our targets of sustained and inclusive growth. Utmost priority must be accorded to prevent undernutrition, as early as possible, across the life cycle, to avert irreversible cumulative growth and development deficits.”

He said that creating increased public awareness on the different dimensions of malnutrition is a key requirement for the success of the campaign, and there is a need to spread awareness about different programmes separately and concurrently. He expected that the campaign would create an enabling social as well as media environment that would enable families and communities and other stakeholders to not only understand malnutrition but also to take informed collective action.

Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said that the campaign would create greater sensitivity for women and children in the society and bring about a behavioural change which will inspire the masses to understand their responsibilities and deliver their duties. She desired that the fight against malnutrition should reach from every anganwadi centre to each and every family and person. She was confident that this awareness campaign will emphasise on policy change and help in preventing and eradicating malnutrition in children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers. She specially appealed to media persons to play a proactive role in taking this campaign to the common man.

Prem Narain, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, in his welcome address said that under the guidance of the PM’s National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges the Ministry has taken several initiatives to address the issues of malnutrition. The IEC campaign being one of the important steps, besides strengthening and restructuring of ICDS which the government has recently approved. The IEC Campaign Against Malnutrition intends to sensitize and broaden awareness about good nutrition among the masses for improved nutrition outcomes. He informed that the campaign will be carried out at the National, State and Local levels through conventional and modern media through multimedia channels with the help of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting agencies.

The campaign will be rolled out in an evolutionary manner of 4 stages which runback to back with some overlap. Stage 1 will create an awareness on symptoms of malnutrition for a period of 8 weeks, Stage 2 gives a Clarion Call and is spread over six weeks. In Stage 3, there are key messages on basic critical practices for maternal and child care as prevention from malnutrition. Stage 4 will inform the public about acquiring services and Mother Child Protection card.

The Country Head UNICEF, Louis George Arsenualt, valued the long partnership of UNICEF and expressed commitment to work in close cooperation with the government. He also lauded the efforts of the government in addressing the issues in tackling malnutrition in India.

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