Dr Rajan Shankar, Advisor – Nutrition, TATA Trusts, Talks About Outlook poshan

Dr Rajan Shankar, Advisor – Nutrition, TATA Trusts, Talks About Outlook poshan



my name is dr. Shankar and I'm a physician by training last five years I've had the privilege of working with the Tata trust and I oversee the nutrition initiative of Terra trust you can say that there are good behavior and bad behavior with the industry we have always concentrated more on the bad ones it is time for us to focus and encourage the industry to do the right things to improve nutrition those who are not part of the food system in their business can also do a lot to improve nutrition of their workforce and therefore their families that is likely to keep them healthy and more productive it will reduce absenteeism and basically it's a good thing to do because good health and nutrition or foundation for any there they are the engines for economic growth so they're the foundational pieces and it's good for anyone in any part of the society to do it see hidden hunger refers to deficiencies of common vitamins and minerals many of them they can't be made in the body most of them have to be part of the diet that we eat as our diet gets narrower narrow him we're not eating diversified died that results in deficiency of many of these vitamins and minerals there are many ways by which you can control and prevent this one is that the best of course is to diversify the diet and eat right but unfortunately it is not practical it doesn't happen it's to do with the behavior it's to do with the affordability and availability of your diversified dine the second way to tackle this is that you can identify the high-risk groups and give them tablets or capsules that carry this vitamin and minerals and the third way is to identify commonly eaten food and add the missing vitamins and minerals to that in many situations you need a combination of all of this they are not exclusive of one another and they're complementary to each other and we have to do all the tree that is advised people to diversify the diet as much as possible the high-risk groups for example very young children or pregnant women need to take supplements depending on the stage and then add vitamins and minerals to commonly eaten staple foods what we call as food fortification this combination along with water and sand attention to water and sanitation and attending to common illnesses in children is likely to improve the nutritional status overall and certainly eliminate the vitamin and mineral deficiency to the extent they are in the last couple of years or about say in the last four or five years the importance of onion body center has improved the portion of Beyond keeps and embody centers as the main focus for delivery of services and the convergence action that is to happen at the village level happens at the end and body center and that's only last mile post available in India across the country the service delivery has to improve at the same time for onion bodies to become the centers of excellence the community ownership has to improve it cannot be that it is a government center and people go there to receive services we have to change that to the community own centers of excellence in which case this we can see remarkable improvement in nutritional status a lot of CSR resources as well as full-on terrific resources have started coming to nutrition in the last few years and it is a welcome change the thing I would urge is that now that we have a template for action we have a implementation framework under portion a beyond I would urge anyone who wants to contribute to them is to become a part of that and implement the very well conceived and designed program under portion a beyond rather than setting up separate multitudes of islands of excellence we have a very good program that is fully driven by the government many NGOs and civil society have actively participating it is a welcome thing that private sector is also providing whatever support that it can the donors and other philanthropies should also become a part of portion and beyond and drive this with fill vigor for next three years see this is a very critical period in a Chinese life this is the period from six months to two years the children grow very rapidly the first six months children are to be fed only the mother's milk what we call as exclusive breastfeeding nothing absolutely nothing other than mother's milk is required and that takes care of optimal growth for the children but from six months to two years the breastfeeding should continue because fresh milk continues to provide important nutrients and a lot of protection from diseases during that period but breast milk alone would not suffice after six months because children are growing rapidly we have to give them food from outside this is what we call a complementary food that is that complements the continuum breastfeeding this food has to be a special food because giving an adult food to a small child will not work because the children require per kilogram of body weight their energy requirement is very high their nutrient requirement is also very high as adults we eat bulk we hit a lot of quantity so what we eat the adult food per gram contains probably less than one calorie that's what we call either one calorie per gram ISO calorie in smaller children the food has to be very dense every gram of that food will have to contain many calories so that has to be a special food this can be made at home very eminently made at home there are multiple recipes that are available it has to be made and in addition to the continuum breast feeding children have to be fit that to my mind it is one of the remarkable things that has happened in the area of nutrition I haven't seen media houses take this up as an important thing that they were under Ivan so energetically what I have seen in the last few years is mania has played a very good role as a watchdog and normally pointing out what is not working well at all you know and it it has its role it has just brought nutrition as a priority area for the political leadership for the bureaucratic leadership and even for general public but I think the timing is right when the country is launched portion abhi on and driving it well this initiator from Outlook is remarkable for several important reasons one is it is giving the prominence second it whatever I have seen it is really highlighting the success stories more so only success will beget more success which is very good and it salute who conceived it and over is driving it so well that we must identify and we should encourage those who give the right prescription for you know the workforce to take forward and implement their real champions they need to be recognized there are great leaders who make nutrition a priority and position it well because for anything to succeed political will and political leadership is absolutely important they they should be encouraged to apply its after all the government's run with well-meaning bureaucrats who spend all their time trying to make things work make the things reach those vulnerable population and vulnerable geographies so we should encourage interested bureaucrats and also technocrats within the government really apply right the most important is the frontline workers down the system the three saviors of health and wealth for the vulnerable in the villages that is the Asha and then wadi worker and am we we should encourage nominations from some of the best who are doing it the community ownership is key for success as I said the panchayat Arad system the self-help group movement and then community volunteers who made huge changes and who really breached some of these myths and made interventions really go to scale they should be identified and they should be encouraged to apply so I believe it it's not just one particular category we should be able to encourage and get people from all stakeholder groups

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