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Around 7 Per Cent Children In Country Malnourished: Govt

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Around seven per cent children in the country are malnourished, including around two per cent in the Severe Acute Malnourished category, according to the government's Poshan tracker methodology, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani informed Rajya Sabha Wednesday.

She said that this number is much less than the figures cited in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data which says around 19 percent of children in the country were malnourished.

"We have reached out to a third party, namely, the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, to ensure that these numbers are validated," she said.

She said that under the Poshan tracker methodology of digitally tracking the performances of Anganwadis, including measuring children as per WHO standards, for the month of February, the number of children found to be Severe Acute Malnourished is close to 2 per cent which is much less than the number that has been enunciated in the NFHS data.

She said that under the Poshan tracker methodology one crore children were weighed as per the World Health Organisation standards.

"Only 2 per cent children are SAM (severely acute malnourished). I would like to add that MAM (Moderate Acute Malnutrition) children have come up to 5 per cent.

"So, if you look cumulatively, the number of children in the malnourished category between SAM and MAM is now 7 per cent. Sir, if you look at the last NFHS data, the percentage of such children is positioned at 19 per cent," she told the House.

In her written reply to a question, Irani also said that as per the Sample Registration System (SRS) of Registrar General of India, the infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the country has reduced from 33 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 30 in 2019 at national level.

During the same period, the under-five mortality rate has reduced from 37 to 35.

Maternal Mortality has been reduced from 122 per lakh live births in 2015-17 to 103 in 2017-19 at national level, she said.

She added that as per the SRS reports (2015-17) of Registrar General of India, major causes of child mortality (0-4 years) in India are -- prematurity & low birth weight (31.2%), pneumonia (16.2%), other non-communicable diseases (9.8%), birth asphyxia & birth trauma (8.7%), diarrheal diseases (6.4%), and injuries (5.6%).

Congenitalanomalies (5.0%), fever of unknown origin (4.4%), acute bacterial sepsis and severe infections (4 .1%), ill-defined or cause unknown (4.7%), are among other major causes, she added.

"As per the SRS reports (2015-17) report of Registrar General of India, major causes of infant mortality in India are - prematurity & low birth weight (37%), Pneumonia (15.5%), Birth asphyxia & birth trauma (10.4%), Other Non-Communicable Diseases (9.1%), Congenital Anomalies (4.9%), Diarrheal Diseases (4.9%), Acute Bacterial Sepsis and severe infections (4.7%), Fever of unknown origin (3.1%), Injuries (2.9%), Ill-defined or cause unknown (5%), and all other causes of deaths (2.5%)," she said.

Story first published: Thursday, April 7, 2022, 9:37 [IST]
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