India next only to Bangladesh in malnourishment

India has the dubious distinction of having one-third of her children born with severe malnourishment and the Centre's target of reducing the infant mortality rate from 90 per thousand to 60 by the year 2000 remains a distant dream even now, according to renowned neo-natalogist Dr S Meharban Singh.

While Pakistan and other south and southeast Asian countries were able to bring down malnourishment among newborns to less than 30 percent, it was over 33 percent in India as against 50 percent in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The situation is very grave, particularly in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajastan, Singh added. Lamenting that over 50 to 60 percent of the children below the age of five years in the country had stunted growth or malnourishment, he pointed out that the need to improve the health of the girl child

Stating that the widely prevalent discrimination against girl children in the society had to go, Singh said only if the health, nutrition and education of girls were taken care of, the country could progress. He said undernourishment among children not only affected their physique but also their brain, leading to poor neuro-motor development and higher dropouts from schools.

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Referred by: Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:3 Sep, 2001
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