Action Against Hunger India organized a day long consultation in Jaipur to discuss and analyze policy options on the issues of malnutrition in Rajasthan. The discussion was attended by various representatives from government department, development organizations, and Panchayati Raj representatives. The consultation was addressed by Mr. Naveen Jain, Secretary Panchayati Raj Department and Mr. Ramavtar Meena, Director ICDS Rajasthan.
The state level consultation discussed in detail the ways to improve child malnutrition and maternal health in Rajasthan. While welcoming the guests, Action Against Hunger India’s CEO Mr. Vinay Iyer said, that ‘this consultation will serve as a platform for development partners and agencies to come together and deliberate on the strategies to address child malnutrition in Rajasthan.’ He also emphasized on having an open and honest dialogue on the issue of child malnutrition in the state and at the national level.
Addressing the consultation, Mr. Naveen Jain, Secretary Panchayati Raj highlighted various issues related to nutrition sensitive programming and localization of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). He said that in Rajasthan there is a conducive environment that can help defeat severe malnutrition in a time-bound manner. He highlighted the learning and success of Naya Savera project being implemented in Baran district of Rajasthan and emphasized that the project must be replicated by all the district. Naya Savera project identifies severely malnourished children and links them with targeted services like Energy Dense Nutrition Supplement (EDNS) that can help severely malnourished children overcome malnutrition in a timely manner.
Mr. Ramavtar Meena, Director ICDS applauded development partners for their contribution towards maternal and child health and development. He also emphasized on the need of undertaking a holistic approach to address child malnutrition as in addition to issues like poverty and underdevelopment, other dietary, environmental, and care-seeking factors also play crucial role in determining child and maternal health. He hoped that the proposed consultation that plans to bring together partners from various departments and development agencies will compliment the government’s efforts towards eradicating child malnutrition.
Mr. Subodh Kumar Jha, EVP & Chief of Human Resources & Management Services, SBI Life Insurance, said, “While our country is facing a major malnutrition crisis amongst children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is extremely humbling to see our efforts invoking overwhelming support from the entire ecosystem. Senior government functionaries, development organizations, NGO partners, Panchayati Raj representatives, corporate India, every stakeholder has converged for solving the very real problem of malnutrition in the country. We sincerely hope that such progressive efforts can catalyse change to make the nation realise its dream of a malnourishment-free India by 2030.”
He further added, ” We are glad to have received this opportunity through our CSR Partner, Action Against Hunger (AAH) to concentrate our efforts towards the larger cause. As by eradicating malnourishment we can truly liberate individuals to pursue their dreams and aspirations, by enabling every child to develop to their full potential.
Other than the senior government officials and department representatives, various development organizations such as UNICEF, Aravali, IPE Global, ActionAid, Evidence Action, Mamta, Piramal Swasthya, KPMG, The Hunger Project, and others also participated and shared their learning during the consultation. It was reiterated that sarpanches have a larger role to play in ensuring that not even a single child remains malnourished. The participants also talked about ways to strengthen village level planning, using Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) to strengthen nutrition services, as well as supporting various village level bodies like VHNDs, VCDCs, and VHCs, etc.
Action Against Hunger pushed for the various needs identified during their program implementation including the availability of functional anthropometric equipment at Anganwadi Centers, sensitization the community on the consumption of Take-Home Ration (THR), and involving communities as key stakeholders in eradicating malnutrition.
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