Govt to prepare roadmap to improve access of food, heath facilities for tribal children

New Delhi: Government will prepare a roadmap for improving access of tribal children to food, health and sanitation in view of high level of chronic under nutrition or stunting which contributes to one-third of under-five child deaths in India.

 Govt to prepare roadmap to improve access of food, heath facilities for tribal children

Representational image. Reuters

A national conclave, organized by Ministry of Tribal Affairs, government of Odisha and UNICEF, would be held to work out strategies for properly nourishing tribal children who suffer from chronic under-nutrition. The conclave will be held at Bhubaneswar on 15 and 16 January.

The conclave will bring together frontline workers, practitioners, State and District officials from Departments of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, Women and Child Development, Health ministry, representatives from the Tribal Research Institutes of various States.

"Together they will take stock of the nutrition situation of India's tribal children, discuss "what works and how" and how departments of various states can coordinate, contribute and collaborate for reducing stunting in India's tribal children.

The conclave will chart a road map for these states for improving access to food, nutrition, health and sanitation services for children in tribal pockets and solidify all stakeholders' commitment toward nourishing India's tribal children," said a statment by Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Also, there will be efforts to identify implementation challenges in the National Tribal Policy and ensure better utilisation of Tribal Sub Plan budgets.

The states are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.

According to National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06), India has the highest number of stunted children globally and most of them are from tribal communities.

The conclave would find ways to ensure that the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) becomes an effective and dynamic tool to mobilise resources for tribal children's needs in food, nutrition and other developmental requirements.

Participants would also discuss how to strengthen Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) for inter-sectoral coordination and monitoring of services in tribal areas.

Stunting (too short for one's age) is an irreversible and chronic manifestation of under nutrition. It contributes to one-third of under-five deaths and adversely affects a child's survival, health, development, learning capacity, school performance and his or her productivity in adulthood.

According to NFHS-3 (2005-06), India houses the highest number of stunted children globally. Almost half of Indian children are stunted with the prevalence being highest among children belonging to scheduled tribes - India's tribal people.

Stunting in tribal children, like that of all other children, is influenced by a multitude of factors including household food insecurity, maternal nutrition, poor feeding and care practices in the first two years of life and poor access to water, health and sanitation services.

PTI

Updated Date: Jan 12, 2015 15:45:41 IST