This refers to the report “MPs to set up forum to highlight child survival issues” (November 16). The leadership of Members of Parliament who recently launched an initiative to help drive down India’s unacceptable high child mortality rate is praiseworthy. India has the highest number of child deaths in the world. One in five of the world’s children who succumb to diarrhoea and pneumonia are from India — and many of these children die because their bodies are weakened by malnutrition. India’s future demands that we reverse this trend and, in this regard, the new Parliamentary forum is a tremendous step forward.
Accelerating nutrition interventions can make a significant contribution to such efforts, particularly in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. Where programmes such as twice-yearly vitamin A supplementation have been implemented, mortality rates have been shown to decrease by as much as 23 per cent. Expanding the use of zinc supplementation, along with oral rehydration salts (ORS), is an effective way to treat and prevent diarrhoea. We can show dramatic progress through all such interventions within two or three years.
The Micronutrient Initiative has been supporting work at the state and national levels to improve child survival rates in India through nutrition-based interventions. I would like to extend our support for this Parliamentary forum. We encourage all government efforts to better incorporate nutrition-based health interventions into current and future programmes, so that all Indian children may survive and thrive.
President, The Micronutrient Initiative
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