ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Frequently Asked Questions on Child Anthropometric Failures in India

The National Family Health Survey is analysed to develop critical insights on child anthropometric failure in India. The analysis finds non-response of economic growth on nutritional well-being and greater burden among the poor as two fundamental concerns. This calls for strengthening developmental finance for socio-economic upliftment as well as enhanced programmatic support for nutritional interventions. The gaps in analytical inputs for programmatic purposes also deserves attention to unravel intricacies that otherwise remain obscured through customary enquiries. On the one hand, this may serve well to improve policy targeting, and on the other, this can help comprehend the nature and reasons of heterogeneities and inequities in nutritional outcomes across subgroups. Strengthening the analytical capacities of programme managers and health functionaries is recommended.

Robust Parliamentary Constituency Estimates

This article is a response to Srinivas Goli’s article “Unreliable Estimates of Child Malnutrition” ( EPW , 9 February 2019) that had questioned the reliability of methodologies of Akshay Swaminathan et al’s article “Burden of Child Malnutrition in India: A View from Parliamentary Constituencies” ( EPW , 12 January 2019). The reliability and usability of the methodologies proposed by Swaminathan et al have been reiterated, emphasising that these can provide broad assessments at the parliamentary constituency level.

Burden of Child Malnutrition in India

In India, monitoring and surveillance of health and well-being indicators have been focused primarily on the state and district levels. Analysing population data at the level of parliamentary constituencies has the potential to bring political accountability to the data-driven policy discourse that is currently based on district-level estimates. Using data from the fourth National Family Health Survey 2016, two geographic information systems methodologies have been developed and applied to provide estimates of four child malnutrition indicators (stunting, underweight, wasting, and anemia) for the 543 parliamentary constituencies in India. The results indicate that several constituencies experience a multiple burden of child malnutrition that must be addressed concurrently and as a priority.
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