The state will assess its undernourishment status in a pan-UP exercise for the first time and has hired the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) to conduct a baseline survey he state does not have proper nutrition statistics of its own. Most of the other previous surveys like the National Health Survey statistics indicating nutrition status do not comprise all the nutrition related parameters.
Once the IIPS submits the survey report to the state, this survey and its statistics would indicate the real progress on undernourishment in the state. “We will transfer money to them in a day or two, and they will give us the survey report in three months from now,” said Kamran Rizwi, the director general of the State Nutrition Mission.
Uttar Pradesh has a very high rate of undernourishment. As many as 42% children under three years of age are underweight, 52% stunted and 19.5% wasted. The status of adolescent girls (would-be mothers) and mothers is equally bad. UP is the second state after Maharashtra to have its own Nutrition Mission to tackle the dismal scenario, which also causes a large number of deaths of newborn and other children as well as the mothers.
The IIPS is a centre of excellence based in Mumbai. It is devoted to population related works, studies and education.
The Nutrition Mission has been mandated to work closely with the nodal departments of health and integrated child development services (ICDS) and other contribution departments to ensure effective implementation of ongoing schemes to reduce undernutrition.
“We felt that we needed a creditable and detailed current status of the problem as we went ahead to tackle the scourge. So we thought of getting a survey done,” said Rizwi. Nutrition Mission director Amitabh Prakash remarked: “This survey and its report will focus only on undernourishment and not vaccination and other things. It will cover all the factors and parameters that are a must to assess undernourishment. This survey will cover children, adolescent girls and mothers.” Prakash said the statistics that were available so far were not UP-centric and were part of national surveys. They are also not very credible.
The UP gover nment had launched the State Nutrition Mission on November 1 last year.