Theme: Making of Swasth, Poshan Yukt & Ayushman Bharat

Timing: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Inaugural Session: Mobilizing and Fortifying Collective Efforts: Government Commitment to Ensure Holistic Nutrition & Health for 1/6th of humanity.

Key Highlights:

Ø The inaugural session was initiated by Kamal Narayan Omer- CEO, of IHW Council. He highlighted that around1/6th of humanity calls India home, and we are the 5th Largest economy of the world. He further commented that food-wise we are the largest producer of staple foods; Yet, India today ranks 102 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index released in 2019. He emphasized the fact that even in the 21st-century malnutrition causes the most number of deaths in children under 5 yrs of age. Over 55% of Indians are anemic and are undernourished which puts the next generation at a much higher risk and makes them a deficit of essential nutrients right from the womb.

Therefore, Bharat Nutrition week is an attempt to strengthen the nation’s mission against malnutrition and build a swasth Bharat. This conclave aims to put special focus on efforts towards making India anemia free and spread awareness to all sections of society via different engagement activities like quiz contests in sync with our Honorable Prime Ministers’ vision envisaged in the latest episode of Mann ki Baat.

Ø The session started with a brief introduction & warm welcome of the esteemed speakers which were Sri Ramdas Athawale, Hon’ble Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI Dr. Harshad Thakur, Director NIHFW, MoHFW – GOI | Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Chairperson, Indian Academy of Public Health | Dr. Hema Diwakar – Medical Director, Divakar Speciality Hospitals, Bengaluru & CEO, ARTIST.

Ø Dr. Harshad conveyed that we have 2 India’s one is Undernourished & one is Over Nourished. The coronavirus pandemic has shown this very clearly, on one hand, some migrants had low accessibility of food and resources and on the other hand, we had a population confined to homes and indulgent in Binge Eating. A big disbalance & big risk factors for various communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Ø Parents & teachers should be role models to inculcate healthy food habits in children. A child-to-child approach might benefit by and large when it comes to awareness and nutrition education. Under-Nutrition & Over Nutrition is a vicious cycle and we should see how to break this cycle at all levels.

Ø Dr. Harshad also informed that there are 3 things as far as eating habits are concerned namely: a. Balance of all Nutrients

b. Moderation as far as the amount of food is concerned

c. Variety of food items.

Ø On the contrary, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar shared his experiences viz-a-viz to the perspective of 2 India’s. As per him, there are no 2 India’s such as Undernourished India & Overnourished India – In his experience of treating people In Iraq, he has dealt with Obese people who were anemic. While an overnourished person can be undernourished for a particular Nutrient it can be vice versa as well, so let’s not create 2 worlds named Undernourished India & Overnouruished India.

Ø Dr. Sanjeev said that we have a fragmented approach when it comes to Nutrition. We have divided it into different types of deficiencies, sectors, programs/interventions as experts. The Private & Public sector should work with a comprehensive approach rather than a silo fragmented approach. Nutrition monitoring & Nutrition cards would surely bring all stakeholders together.

Ø The life cycle approach is the go-to approach in today’s scenario. All sectors need to come together and move from Food Security to Nutrition Security overall. The focus should move to family, as they are the frontliners when it comes to fighting malnutrition.

Only a holistic approach will make us achieve the targets.

Ø Dr. Hema Diwakar also advocated the fact that we need to connect and collaborate and not work in silos to break the cycle of vicious malnutrition. It all begins from the Uterine atmosphere, from the womb, and thus nourishing the women becomes even more important.

Ø Hon’ble Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Sri Ramdas Athawale, enlightened us with the fact that it’s the responsibility of each one of us that every woman, new mother, their children should get adequate nutrition and optimum environment for growth and development because these children are the future of India. We should reinsure that balanced diet, iron, and iodine-rich diet. They should also be educated on sanitation, hygiene, calcium & folic acid supplementation too.

Ø He also emphasized that a balance needs to be created in providing the underprivileged with balanced and affordable nutrition so that everyone has an average age of 100 yrs at least so that the dream and vision of Real Ayushmaan Bharat can be achieved.

Ø Dr. Hema closed the session with a vote of Thanks to the esteemed speakers. It was concluded that a woman’s health is the Nation’s wealth. Women and children are closely linked to health and nutrition. Thus, improving women’s and children ‘s health commences with ensuring women’s health and nutrition throughout life, and women continue to be providers of their children and families. Therefore, women’s empowerment and equal access and control over social protection and resources such as income, land, water, and technology are the key priorities. To achieve universal coverage, direct multisectoral actions to address critical women’s nutritional challenges, including anemias from iron deficiency, have to be implemented on a wider scale.

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