Nutrition Communication needed for Malnutrition Free Tamil Nadu: Experts at Consultation

There is a need to implement nutrition initiatives in a ‘Mission Mode’, moving to a ‘Nutrition Revolution’ said Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder MSSRF. Speaking at the Tamil Nadu Nutrition alliance meeting organized by MSSRF, in partnership with UNICEF on January 9, 2017, Prof Swaminathan pointed out that there was adequate food but malnutrition persisted due to other issues. “The collapse in the price of the potato shows that while there is an excellent potato crop, the lack of planning appropriate land use is reflected in this situation.” This alliance has a large but important agenda, that permits us to purchase time and resources, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Nutrition Alliance is a network of stakeholders working on nutrition outcomes in the state including government, academic and research, NGOs, CBOs and corporate houses. The network aims to build a knowledge sharing process to have a better impact of nutrition efforts in the state. Some of Tamil Nadu’s nutrition indicators are an area of concern such as over 55% of women (15 – 49 years) in the state found to be anaemic.

Dr Farhat Saiyed, Nutrition Specialist UNICEF, said that nutrition communication and generating demand for Government services was going to be the need of the hour. “Since nutrition is multi-sectoral, we need to create demand for various services offered by the Government, that affect nutrition and this will be our priority in the days to come.”

Speaking on the occasion Dr V Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF said that the importance of such an alliance was in bringing many people and resources together, all of who are involved in nutrition. The important aspect now was, how to sustain this momentum.

The findings from a capacity assessment exercise among government departments, NGOs and academic institutions were presented. These indicated that there is a gap in formal knowledge sharing processes as well as trainings in knowledge sharing among various partners. Also nearly half of them said that there was not enough practical experience in nutrition interventions.

Dr Jahan Mohan, HoD, APP, State Planning Commission, Dr A Somasundaram, Joint Director DPH, also spoke on the occasion. Participants included the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, Department of Health, Social Welfare, NRLM, Rural Development Department, ICAR and academic institutions and NGOs.

The updated version of the Knowledge portal was also shared on the occasion. The Nutrition Alliance would plan to bring out the Tamil version of the National Institute of Nutrition source on food and nutrition information besides take forward communication initiatives in the days to come.