Kar was speaking at a webinar titled – Tribal Nutrition to Supercharge Odisha’s Demographic Dividend – here on Wednesday. The webinar was jointly organised by Bhubaneswar-based non-profit Centre for Youth and Social Development, CFNS and Odisha Development Initiative to mark the Poshan Maah (September 1-30) or the nutrition month.
Citing NFHS report, he said around 42.1% of the under-5 tribal children are stunted; 22.8% wasted; and 72.9% anaemic, according to NFHS, said Kar. These figures are higher than that of the general category. In general category, the figures are 31%; 18.1% and 64.2% respectively. As far as women are concerned, the prevalence of anaemia among tribal and general category is 71.7% and 64.3% respectively, pointed out Kar.
Jagadananda, Mentor and Co-Founder of CYSD, underlined the need for a multi-stakeholder partnership not only to reduce the difference but to end malnutrition. The stakeholders need a robust planning and execution to end malnutrition by 2036, the year of Odisha’s centenary celebration.
Ranglal Jamuda, Board Secretary CFNS, underlined the need to realize Community Forest Rights and Community Forest Resources Rights under the Forest Rights Act to ensure nutrition security of the tribal communities.
“The tribes share a symbiotic relationship with the forests they dwell in. Lack of ownership of tribals over their forests, on which they have been depending on for generations, and thus conserving it for sustainable use, lead to loss of forest cover, loss of their forest-based livelihood and vanishing of forest food. All these take a toll on their food security,” pointed out Jamuda, who was the first chairperson of Odisha State Food Commission.
Pramod Kumar Merkap, Chairperson, Odisha State Food Commission, highlighted that in order to achieve nutritional security of the tribes, the planning should be micro-level and need based. He underlined the need for proper implementation of Van Dhan Yojana that aims at value addition of minor forest produce (MFP) and development of MFP value chain. “It is an important tool to improve the tribal income and thus can ensure nutritional security,” he added.
Sourav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist, Unicef-Odisha, gave an insight into the wasting in tribals. He underscored the need of timely detection and enrolment of Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children into Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme.
Sneha Mishra, Secretary, Aaina, a city-based NGO, delivered the welcome address and Dr Mukesh Sahoo proposed the vote of thanks.
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