PM’s Nutrition Council to Meet Today
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24 November 2010
New Delhi, India
Combating rising malnutrition and improving the faltering ICDS system are the key challenges before the PM’s nutrition council that will meet on Wednesday.
While more than 1.4 million babies die before they complete one year, another 0.6 million die in the next four years. According to WHO, poor infant feeding practises are responsible for two-thirds of deaths.
Activists have long demanded a rightsbased universal intervention with special emphasis on enhancing breastfeeding practises and universalising maternity benefits. "India’s report card is poor when it comes to policy and programme to support women for breastfeeding. About 20 million of the 26 million infants born are not being breastfed exclusively for six months, leading to 14 lakh deaths from diarrhoea, pneumonia and infections in the first month of life," Arun Gupta, regional coordinator of IBFAN Asia, said.
Consultations with the Planning Commission have also raised issues like the need to strengthen nutrition infrastructure with additional village level workers for proper nutritional guidance and setting up of a separate department within the ministry. Activists also feel that strong regulation is required over MNCs and private companies pushing baby foods through covert advertising and ensuring institutional safeguards for preventing the entry of commercial food products..