Nutrition specific program should be synced to hygiene and sanitation issues for solutions, said experts.
"Nutrition-specific programs tend to delink from hygiene and sanitation resulting in a self-defeating nutrition-oriented approach," said Barun Kanjilal, a professor at the Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Rajasthan.
Advertisement"If sanitation and hygiene are integrated with schemes like Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS), then the efforts and solutions could be accelerated," he said.
Kanjilal and other experts discussed nutrition-related matters at a recent state level consultation meet here organized by the university under the aegis of the Future Health Systems project in collaboration with Welthungerhilfe and UNICEF.
He pointed out that since efforts to combat malnutrition "do not emphasize water and sanitation, the malady of open defecation - which is practiced by close to 50 percent of the Indian population - plays havoc with the nutritional status of the people."
In addition, the experts at the meet also called for a coalition in east India to highlight the issue of child under-nutrition in the region.
"There is a need to form a coalition for nutrition in eastern India for increasing visibility of the importance of the issue of child under-nutrition," said Meera Priyadarchi Marla of Nutrition Coalition.
At the policy level, experts felt there is a lack of convergence between the line departments dealing with nutrition, hygiene and sanitation.
Meenakshi Singh, nutrition specialist, UNICEF, said: "A deliberate and sustained advocacy is needed for enabling macro level policy convergence and close coordination between line departments to eradicate the scourge of child under-nutrition."