The Indian government has drawn up a road map to tackle
under-nutrition or stunting, which contributes to one-third of under-five child
deaths among tribal children.
A two-day conclave in Bhubaneswar will be conducted by the
Ministry of Tribal Affairs from January 15 in collaboration with the Government
of Odisha and Unicef to chart a road map for Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and
Telangana. The conclave aims to improve access to food, nutrition, health and
sanitation services for children in tribal pockets.
"Stunting in tribal children, like that of all other
children, is influenced by a multitude of factors including household food
insecurity, maternal nutrition in the first two years of life and poor access
to water, health and sanitation services. The central focus of this conclave is
to emphasise how various government departments can coordinate, contribute and
collaborate for reducing stunting in India's tribal children," the Ministry
said in a statement.
The conclave will also discuss challenges in the National
Tribal Policy and ensuring better utilisation of tribal sub-plan budgets.
According to the National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06),
the country has the highest number of stunted children and most of them are
from tribal communities.
"Stunting adversely affects a child's survival,
health, development, learning capacity, school performance and productivity in
adulthood," the statement added