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Times of India
02 June 2010
Pune, India

Discussing the nuances of tackling child malnutrition, experts in the city said it is time to focus on community–based management of the issue.

Gopal Pandge, deputy director of Rajmata Jijau Mother–Child Health and Nutrition Mission, stressed this point during the recently concluded five–day Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness (IMNCI) workshop held at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences' regional centre in Aundh. IMNCI is one of the most important WHO programmes conducted by India and many other countries in the world to reduce infant mortality.

Pandage said that counselling a mother about breast feeding and complementary feeding was also very important to fight the issue of malnutrition.

Paediatrician Prashant Gangal, co–ordinator of Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), spoke about new growth charts released by WHO. "The new system will diagnose more number of malnourished children. The existing grading system (IAP) that takes into account weight for age assessment of under–nutrition is going to be replaced by WHO's new growth–monitoring standards.

Growth monitoring on length/height for age, weight for age, weight for length, weight for height and body mass index for age will be taken into account to address severe malnutrition."

Community-Based Handling Of Malnutrition Needed: Expert Stressing on infant and child nutrition, paediatrician Sanjay Prabhu, coordinator, BPNI, said,
The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Unicef. Around 34 participants, including doctors and health workers, from BJ Medical College Pune and MIMER Medical College, Talegaon, Pune, attended the workshop. They were given Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness training. They were also taken to primary health care centres for communitybased learning.

The participants visited hospitals and were taught about hospital–based management of paediatric care. They were also given handson training on essential newborn care and basic resuscitation of newborns, ie. Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakram training.

This programme has been launched by the Government of India in some states, including Maharashtra. Under this, paediatricians and gynaecologists are taught how to train medical officers and paramedical staff all over India.

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