Bhubaneswar: Malnutrition and Stunting in Odisha can be contained in near future, said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra here on Tuesday.
Mahapatra was addressing the National Level Conclave on Childhood Stunting in India, being held in the city. “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,” he added.
With around 96.5 lakh families covered under 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 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 targeted reduction in stunting and malnutrition.
Mahapatra said that around cent percent 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 checkup at AWC level.
“Odisha is now ready to have an aggressive target for reduction of malnutrition and stunting which would be possible to achieve in coming few years.”
He added, “The problem of stunting and malnutrition is multi dimensional”, and as such would need a wholistic action plan with and concerted efforts among various departments.
Joining the conclave, Secretary Women and Child Development Subha Sharma, Nutrition Chief of Unicef Arjan de Wagt, Nutrition Expert Prof Srinath Reddy, and Chairperson Odisha State Food Security Commission 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.
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 takeways on maternal, Child health and nutrition,
Moderating discussion on various recommendations were deliberated in the in these sessions. Among others, Anu Garg Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources; Bijaya Kumar Panigrhai, Director Family Welfare; Dr SB Adnihotri Faculty of IIT Mumbai, Dr LK 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; Sourav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist UNICEF participated in the discussions.
On this occasion, Mahapatra 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 Government of Odisha. The Conclave was held under the joint aegis of International and Food Policy Research Institute, Government of Odisha, World Bank and UNICEF.