New Delhi: Public health experts, government representatives, doctors and dieticians have pledged to come together to reform and strengthen the medical college curriculum, with a specific focus on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) in the country. Specifically, the medical curriculum needs to be reformed further to incorporate nutrition competencies like breast feeding, complementary feeding in the new Competency Based Medical Education (CBME) of the National Medical Council, Dr Kapil Yadav, Professor at the Centre of Community Medicine at the AIIMS and Governing Council member of the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), said.
Nutrition services like counselling, anthropometry to be incorporated in medical college clinics and rural and urban field practice areas, and there should be joint teaching and training of undergraduate and post-graduate medical students in nutrition by the Department of Community Medicine, Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he added.
The nutritional condition of a woman serves as a strong indicator of the well-being of both herself and her children, Dr Yadav said. He further said,
Unfortunately, many women and children worldwide face triple threats of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and being overweight. This leads to a reduced work capacity, poor well-being and increased risk for infections.
Considering the pressing issue of malnutrition, it is imperative to address the county-level challenges, as India is a vast country and the challenges differ in each state and region, the experts said at a roundtable discussion on MIYCN organised by the IAPSM and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, in association with the UNICEF, on Wednesday.
Dr Zoya Ali Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner, In-charge, Nutrition at the Union health ministry, emphasised the importance of enhancing communication skills in healthcare providers, utilisation of allotted budgets to the programmes, the government’s initiatives in strengthening MIYCN and development of targeted training materials for beneficiaries.
Furthermore, she elaborated on the importance of a “well-nourished child developing into a well-nourished adult”, contributing towards the country’s economic growth.
The burden of anaemia is also very high with 67 per cent children aged below five years and 57 per cent women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years) being anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5).
According to the survey (2019-21), the current burden of malnourishment in children under five years in India (stunting, wasting and underweight) is 35.5 per cent for stunting, 19.3 per cent for wasting and 32.1 per cent for underweight.
Malnutrition among women aged 15-49 years is also high at 18.7 per cent. There has been some reduction in recent years as compared to the NFHS-4 of 2015-16, Yadav said.
The members acknowledged the multifaceted nature of MIYCN and committed to integrating comprehensive MIYCN education into the curricula of medical colleges.
This will encompass a spectrum of medical disciplines, including community medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, medicine, geriatrics and others. Dr Yadav said,
Our goal is to equip future healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to address MIYCN challenges from a multidisciplinary perspective. We will invest in faculty development programmes to ensure that educators possess the expertise required to effectively teach MIYCN topics. Continuous professional development will be encouraged, ensuring that the faculty members remain up-to-date with the latest developments in MIYCN.
The experts acknowledged that healthcare disparities exist, with rural communities and the urban poor often facing limited access to essential services, including proper nutrition and maternal and child healthcare. Dr A M Kadri, President, IAPSM, said,
By integrating rural and urban field experiences into the MIYCN curriculum, we commit to addressing these disparities and ensuring equitable access to healthcare and nutrition services. We recognise that providing healthcare professionals with a comprehensive education that includes practical experiences in rural and urban-poor settings is essential. Such experiences expose students to the realities of healthcare delivery in resource-constrained environments, promoting a more holistic understanding of MIYCN.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.