People Helped in 2017: 58,846
With one of the fastest growing economies, India is now the one of the top five of the world’s largest economies, and is showing continuous improvement with a high life expectancy, literacy rate, and health conditions. Among the country’s 1.2 billion inhabitants the conditions for those living in poorer regions are comparable to those of some of the world’s poorest countries.
Despite its status as an economic powerhouse, deadly malnutrition persists to a bewildering degree in India, often hidden in plain sight. 60 million children under 5 suffer from stunting, comprising 36 percent of the world’s total under 5 sufferers, which is mainly caused by undernutrition. The uptake of key practices, such as early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and complete immunization, are well below acceptable.
Undernutrition in India is the product of the usual suspects: widespread poverty, endemic hunger, rapid population growth, pockets of weak governance, poor health systems and unreliable national indicators, all of which are compounded by issues of caste, ethnicity, religion and gender. Undernutrition is particularly prevalent in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where 20% and 35% of all children, respectively, are affected by severe wasting like marasmus, a type of undernutrition that causes fat, muscle, and other tissue loss.
The incessant work of development organizations has led to a positive stance by the central government with the new National Nutrition Mission. It marks the cognizance of state of the need for concrete steps to be taken to tackle undernutrition in India and brings better integration of different approaches towards improved nutrition in the country’s future.
Action Against Hunger has worked in India since 2010, hoping to help turn the tide and begin saving the millions of lives lost each year across India. Our teams have scaled up our nutrition programs, worked with all levels of government to strengthen India’s health system, developed nutritional care programs centered on community involvement, trained hundreds of health care workers in the detection, prevention, and treatment of severe malnutrition, partnered with local community organizations, and undertaken much needed nutritional surveys to document the extent of undernutrition in India. We’re here for the long haul to help India’s vulnerable thrive.
In 2017, we continued our work with our operational partner the Fight Hunger Foundation with programs in Rajastan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. We signed a long-term agreement with Rajasthan Government to provide technical assistance to address undernutrition in the region and scale up our program. In Burhanpur, our Health and Nutrition program was completed and handed over to the Madhya Pradesh Government. In Maharastra, we reached an agreement with the Government to work in four high-burden regions for the next five years.