Unicef calls for urgent action against child stunting

Unicef calls for urgent action against child stunting

Unicef calls for urgent action against child stunting

 The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) has recommended urgent and comprehensive measures to arrest stunting among children under the age of five in India.

Releasing research paper on stunting, the UN agency said that child malnutrition rates in India are among the highest in the world, with nearly one-half of all children under three years of age being underweight or stunted (lesser height for age). Unicef said that stunting is affecting economic growth of the country. 

Research findings on all different aspects of stunting were released on Wednesday in an event attended by Dr Meera Shekar (World Bank) Prof SV Subramanian (Harvard University), Purmima Menon (International Food Policy Research Institute) and Dr Victor M Aguayo ( Unicef Regional Director) and V Somasundaran (Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development).

“Between 2006 and 2014, stunting rates for children under five in India have declined from 48 to 38%. Despite this progress, child under-nutrition rates in India are among the highest in the world, with nearly one-half of all children under 3 years of age being either underweight or stunted. India is still home to over 40 million stunted children and 17 million wasted children,” says the report.  “In Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Jharkhand the situation has not changed significantly,” it said.

The UN agency has said India requires at least $6 billion annually to deliver the nutrition-specific interventions at full coverage. The amount is required for food supplementation, counselling, health interventions and micronutrient supplementation and deworming.  “An all-out effort is now needed to improve the functioning of nutrition-specific interventions as well as a focus on addressing underlying social factors by reducing income inequality, improving the health and social status of women, scaling-up water and sanitation services, and addressing food insecurity,” Unicef recommends.

The UN agency has said India requires at least $6 billion annually to deliver the nutrition-specific interventions at full coverage

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