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

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Curbing Malnutrition

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The fact sheets recently released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 show that there has been a stagnation, and even increase in some states, in the prevalence of malnutrition among children. While this data pertains to the period before the lockdown, it can only be expected that the situation is much worse after. The Right to Food Campaign along with a number of other networks launched the “Hunger Watch” in September 2020 to track the situation of hunger amongst vulnerable and marginalised communities in different parts of the country, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hunger Watch aims to conduct field surveys followed by local action towards demanding access to entitlements as well as drawing attention of governments and media to the prevailing situation of hunger in the country.

The Hunger Watch was conducted in 11 states. Vulnerable communities in rural and urban areas were identified by local activists/researchers who then shortlisted the households to be surveyed within these communities based on group discussions with the community. A simple questionnaire was developed and administered using smartphones. This is one of the few in-person surveys that have been conducted since the pandemic. While the data being presented may not be representative of the district, state or country, they do, however, tell a story of deprivation of thousands of households in similar situations.

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