The predominance of malnutrition-enveloping undernutrition, is a significant indicant of a nation’s health at large. Undernourished people lag behind in various facets of life. Unfortunately, with a Global Hunger Index (GHI – which tracks hunger worldwide) score of 31.4, India records the highest number of undernourished people. Talking in numbers, the 2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI) for India estimates that 15% population is facing undernourishment or intaking nutrition deficient food.
Hunger Index for children in India: A Snapshot
- According to the report of India’s National Family Health Survey, in India, greater than a fifth of the country’s children under five are going through the problem of “wasting,” which means low weight for height. And, India has made no advancement over the past two decades in seizing the problem.
- The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-IV highlighted “35.7% of children below the age of three years are underweight in India.”
- Child stunting rate in India, however, has considerably improved. It has gone down 29% since 2000, leaving the current stunt rate of children as 38.4%.
Interventions and Programmes to Fight Hunger
- National Nutrition Mission
National Nutrition Mission (NNM) is a scheme of Government of India, also known as ‘Poshan Abhiyaan.’ It aims to decrease the stunting level, ensures the reduction of the scaling undernutrition, low-weight babies etc. It is also an approach towards integrating various nutrition-oriented schemes to improve the nutrition level in India, focussing more on children and pregnant women. It is indeed a comprehensive plan and its fortune will call for Government, corporates and NGO’s role in India.
- Mid-Day Meal Programme
Mid-day meal (MDM) is a nutritious, freshly-cooked lunch provided to children in Government and Government-aided schools in India. On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate declaring, “We direct the State Governments/Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary School with a prepared mid-day meal.” The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children in Bengaluru has been successfully implementing Mid-Day Meal Programme. Currently, it is serving wholesome school lunches to over 1.76 Million children in 14,314 schools across 12 states in India.
- Anganwadi Feeding
A child and mother care centre is typically called as ‘Anganwadi’ in India. The Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) are the crucial part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, a Central Government sponsored scheme. It was launched on 2 October 1975. This flagship programme of the Government of India pays special attention to the children and nursing mothers. It improves the nutritional and health status of children aged 0-6 years.
Taking Up Action in the Hunger Action Month
Hunger is a worldwide problem! So, to engage the nation for the war against hunger, The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks initiated a month-long endeavour in September 2008. It is time for us too, for a countrywide push to get involved with the hunger crisis across the country and especially securing children from the grips of hunger.
How you can celebrate Hunger Action Month
The true celebration of Hunger Action Month begins by acting against hunger, isn’t it? Donate for hunger eradication and help fill a child’s plate with food. Because HUNGER HURTS!
BY The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO for children in India serving mid-day meal to more than 1.7 million children across 12 states of India. Akshaya Patra is actively involved in countering the hunger situation in India, right from the ground level.