India is still home to one-third of the stunted children in the world, and has the highest number of wasted children globally. Stunting impairs cognitive potential and productivity, and wasting, which implies extremely low weight-for-height, is a serious condition that threatens the child’s ability to survive and thrive.

One in two women and girls between 15 to 49 years old, and nearly 60% of children in the crucial age bracket of 6 to 23 months, are anaemic. Research has shown that 1% loss in adult height due to stunting reduces productivity by 1.4% and that eliminating anaemia can increase productivity by 5 to 17%.

With the disruption in food and nutrition services and supplies during this pandemic, the malnutrition problem has only been compounded. Apart from the suffering of individuals, malnutrition poses a serious threat to GDP, human capital potential, productivity and demographic dividend.

Here are some ways we can address this challenge and set India on the path to nutritional self-reliance.

  1. Fostering Multi-stakeholder Partnerships Stakeholder alignment and a long-term relationship among different partners can be very fruitful as they share risks and rewards, exchange skills, converge social, human and financial capital and technologies to enhance delivery on nutrition outcomes.
  2. Mobilizing Public-Private Engagement Platforms To facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships, we need more platforms like IMPAct4Nutrition (I4N), which can create a business ecosystem that is both profitable and socially responsible. Today, I4N orients businesses and industries towards nutritional self-reliance and works with them to find solutions to calorie, protein and micronutrient inadequacies in the workforce.
  3. Actioning the ‘ACE’ card The ACE card of a company – its assets, corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, and employee engagement on nutrition messaging – is a key pillar towards meeting nutrition goals.

Read the full article about nutritional self-reliance in India by Madhavika Bajoria at avpn.