India still has high rates of child undernutrition and mortality under age 5. According to the NFHS 5 (2019-21) survey, 35.5% children under 5 years were stunted and 32.1% were underweight. The mortality rate among children under five years of age was also high― estimated to be 41.9 per 1000 live births.1
Ensuring uninterrupted coverage of nutrition interventions with a focus on children under 2 years of age, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls is critical.2 Even prior to the pandemic, coverage of key nutrition interventions was inadequate but the Covid-19 lockdown disrupted key nutritional services.3 There has been improvement—data of November 2021 shows that in most states, a greater number of services are currently functional compared to the same period last year.4 The status of services can be fully examined on the PoshanCOVID19 monitoring page which tracks the continuity of key maternal and child health services in 14 states.
To improve outcomes during the pandemic, creative interventions such as the use of social media to discuss information on young child feeding or door-to-door delivery of THR have been adopted.2 Given the importance of optimal breastfeeding, the Central and state governments developed guidance material5 including videos6 for health systems and the public to safely continue breastfeeding even with Covid-19. There is also advocacy on factors that result in violation of the IMS Act, a law that bans the promotion of foods marketed to children up to 2 years of age.7 To improve the reach during the pandemic, different approaches have been adopted by the states in the implementation of the school feeding program.8 The PoshanCOVID19 monitoring page features many such state-level developments including measures adopted by the respective state and central governments to alleviate the situation.
To understand the state of nutrition and food security in India, more accurate information is required but there are significant gaps in data. In this context, the PoshanCOVID19 initiative aims to aid policy and planning by maintaining a repository of information on child nutrition and maternal health and related topics in the context of COVID-19. The resources page is an archive for COVID-19 related resources on nutrition, early childhood development, and food security. The monitoring page consolidates data to monitor the interactions between COVID-19 and nutrition which are presented in an easy-to-access and interpret format to enable evidence-based decisions.
- MOHFW. (2021). National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5) 2019-21 . Compendium of Fact Sheets. Key Indicators India and 14 States/UTs (Phase II). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India
- Menon, P., de Wagt, A., Reddy, V., Reddy, K., Pandav, C. S., Avula, R., … & Sankar, R. (2021). Supporting efforts to address malnutrition in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in India: An emergency need. Medical Journal of Dr. DY Patil Vidyapeeth, 14(4), 369.
- Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) and Child Rights and You (CRY) : Impact of COVID-19 on Child Nutrition in India- What are the Budgetary Implications?
- UNICEF. (2021). Poshan Covid-19 Continuity of Services November 2021.
- National Health Mission. (N.D). Breastfeeding guidelines during COVID-19. Ministry of Family & Health Welfare, Government of India.
- NHM, Poshan Abhiyaan, Govt of Uttar Pradesh. (N.D). Video on providing support for breastfeeding to a mother affected by COVID
- Government of UP. (N.D). What leads to violation of IMS Act
- NB, D., Mishra, N. (2021). Pandemic and the Missing Midday Meals. Economic and Political Weekly, 56 (36)