Rashtriya POSHAN(Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan, is India’s flagship scheme to holistically address the prevalence of malnutrition in India through the use of technology, convergence, behavioural change, training and capacity building.
The month of September is celebrated as the ‘Rashtriya POSHAN Maah’, with the focus of improving the nutritional outcomes for children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls,
and pregnant and lactating women.
Here is what you need to know:
POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched on 8th March, 2018 on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The aim is to enhance nutritional standing in order to achieve a decrease in low birth weight babies, stunting growth(from 38.4% to 25% by 2022), anemia and under-nutrition over the next three years.
The Government of India has declared for the following as the theme of POSHAN Maah, 2020:
First, to early identify and curb the growth of Severe Acute Malnutrition(SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition(MAM) in children and young infants, in order to minimise complications. This becomes even more substantial pertaining to the current Covid-19 crisis.
Even before India was hit by the pandemic, malnutrition was a silent epidemic. The Global Nutrition Report found that 37.9% of India’s children under five years are stunted, and 20.8% are wasted. Hence, the aim is to secure vulnerable communities from food and nutrition unavailability.
Second, to promote plantation drives and kitchen gardens under ‘Poshan Ke Liye Paudhe’. Families and communities are encouraged to plant herbs, fruits and vegetables in and around them. AWCs, schools, government buildings are also guided to take the initiative forward.
We all pretty much know how important a role does fresh, seasonal and regional food play in our diets. From being anti-inflammatory to being nutrient dense, they are potent enough to fight infections and keep ailments at bay. Growing them in your kitchen is the best way to incorporate dietary diversity each day in your meals.
Third, to intensively promote breastfeeding and complementary feeding to prevent malnutrition and improve child survival for children from 0-6 months. According to experts, better nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will ensure a healthy development of a child.
An increase in unemployment and poverty due to the pandemic and the GDP being at -23.9% in Q¹, India, will surely witness a sharp rise in hunger as well as malnutrition. Hence, taking up the activities based on the theme of nutrition month can better the situation.
Over to you:
POSHAN Abhiyaan is thus envisioned as a people’s movement. During this month, a food and nutrition quiz will be organised by MyGov portal. There will also be a meme competition, which will be undertaken to enhance the awareness regarding nutrition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his ‘Mann ki baat” programme, that “Yatha Annam Tatha Mannam” which means our mental and intellectual growth is directly proportional to the food we eat. ‘Jan Andolan’ plays a crucial role in the fight against malnutrition. Hence, while the government is trying to work from the grassroot level, it is equally important for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a better tomorrow.