CFTRI calls for using Spirulina to combat malnutrition

Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) Director Ram Rajasekharan, on Friday, said, a majority of Indians suffer from deficiency of nutrition, and Spirulina, an algae, can fight malnutrition over and above home food.

The director was addressing the gathering, during the inaugural ceremony of a two-day national conference on ‘Malnutrition: Challenges, Success Stories and Way Forward’, organised by CFTRI, JSW Foundation of Ballari and Karnataka government, at CFTRI. Rajasekharan said, 56% of the people in the country are undernourished and Omega-3 is a major deficiency, and deficiency of ‘Iron’ and ‘Vitamin A’ was dominant.

The Director said, “The governments should introduce programmes to eradicate malnutrition in a scientific manner. The authorities concerned should provide good nutritious food instead of offering capsules. The governments should spend more money on conducting research on malnutrition.”

He advised the people to take care of their health and body rather than depend on government or any institution for healthy food. He said, scientists, industry heads and policymakers should work together to eradicate the major problem of the country.

Former IAS officer and chief executive officer of JSW Foundation C S Kedar said, India should find out solutions for malnutrition on it’s own with more research work.

According to the organisers, malnutrition among children is a major health challenge in India. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 42.5% of the children under 5 years of age are underweight. The government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes.

The ministry is implementing Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) as direct targeted interventions. However, the percentage of malnutrition among children is still very high in some major states of India.

The national conference aimed at deliberating various innovative public and private initiatives on combating malnutrition, by bringing experts and representatives from government, private companies and NGOs on a single platform.

The conference is an opportunity to share the learnings and challenges faced on the ground, brainstorming and formulation of an effective policy to combat malnutrition by adopting a coordinated and holistic approach. The sessions focused on innovative ideas and concepts that have been effective in the field, in terms of robustness and scalability in combating malnutrition.

Deputy Commissioner D Randeep and Assistant Director of Integrated Child Development Service Scheme Anuradha were present.

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