Globally, the World Food Program (WFP) predicts that the number of people facing acute food insecurity around the world will almost double to 270 million. India ranked 102 out of 117 countries in the 2019 Global Hunger Index. The ranking was based on three major indicators – stunted growth among children, child mortality rate, and the proportion of undernourished people in a country. Adequate nutrition is critical to child development. The period from birth to two years of age is important for optimal growth, health, and development. At this age, children are particularly vulnerable to growth retardation, micronutrient deficiencies, and common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI). Malnutrition in pregnant women can result in reduced productivity, slow recovery from illnesses, increased susceptibility to infections, and a high risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. As per NHFS-4, Assam in the northeast is one of these four states which is bound to carry the burden of childhood malnutrition for the next several generations if early preventive measures are not taken.
NEAID is working in a community-led approach with a belief that nourished children will have stronger immune systems and improved overall growth, making them more resistant to sickness and disease, with better outcomes in brain development and health. Similarly, the health of women and their newborns by supporting women’s nutrition from conception to the lactating phase will result in safer pregnancies and delivery of healthy babies protecting their lives and future generations.
The Alleviate malnutrition program is designed to mitigate challenges such reachability of Government programs in unreached and underserved areas, proper nutrition awareness among the target group and caregivers, creating community ownership towards maintaining health & hygiene, etc. This will be achieved through introducing community enhancement and awareness initiatives and adopting the approach of “Think Local with the Locals”. The holistic interventions will include awareness from elementary grades on Health and Hygiene, encouraging communities to support the vulnerable population in the community such as pregnant women, lactating mothers and children, supporting the mid-day meal program in schools through school/community kitchen, making the community aware on locally available food items that can improve the nutritional value of their food.