'PPP to tackle malnutrition'

Public Private Partnership is the only way out to deal with issues of low nutrition in India. 

Lack of implementation of governments' policies and schemes makes a case for the same, even though it is quite a challenge, said experts on Tuesday.

In a panel discussion in the India Habitat Centre, the experts in the field of nutrition concluded that government has lot of funds but no strategies to bring the rate of malnutrition down.“A huge gap exists in the field of training the staff to spread awareness and implementation of policies properly," said a senior government officer.

Another expert noted the government works from 10 am to 5 pm. But the farmers and working women are free only after 5 pm.

"Thus, the people who are the target group cannot be reached and connected with. Private players can become important in such situations because their timings are flexible and they work with a different set of work ethics," she said.

However, they emphasised that the responsibility of forming the linkages should lie with the government only.

"Government has to act as the supervising body and has to provide funds. It has to be realised that no private party will be part of a venture without profit motive. We need to develop methods to utilise this fundamental rule and this is the biggest challenge," said the official.

The crucial part of data collection and data storing needs to remain in hand of the government because it can be misused by the others, he said.

Ashi Kathuria, senior nutritionist, World Bank said the first 1,000 days of an infant i.e. from conception by mother till 2 years of age for nutrition are most crucial. 

This window period decides whether a child will suffer from ailments as a result of malnutrition or not. 

She added Public Private Partnership (PPP) must take the need to address issues within this period, especially for the most disadvantaged groups, into consideration.

According to a World Bank data, over 60 per cent of Indian children do not have adequacies in any of the dimensions of feeding, care and environmental health. Less than 2.5 per cent of children are adequate in all dimensions.  

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