Bhubaneswar: Experts working with the state government, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Unicef during a brainstorming session Tuesday said that COVID posed new threats to nutritional aspects of women in Odisha.
“During the pandemic, women from marginalised sections faced several issues like loss of livelihood, lack of cooked mid-day meal due to closure of Anganwadi centres, markets and schools which led to food insecurity. The diversity of food got disrupted,” said Babita Mohapatra, Additional Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Odisha Livelihood Mission.
She also cited data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and said that several women in the state are still under-nourished and such traits can affect the overall health of the kids in the state. She also talked about the several efforts taken by the government.
Former Dean of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar Vikas Bhatia said that a good number of women in Odisha are anaemic but severe anaemia ranged only 1 per cent of the population. “This shows that the anaemic conditions of Odisha women could be tackled with interventions like availability of folic acid and other government aids. Tackling it is quite possible,” he said.
Saurav Bhattacharjee, nutrition specialist from Unicef, Bhubaneswar, said that the nutritional focus of women is mainly confined to post delivery which should ideally be within days after their conception to ensure a healthy child.
“Focusing on women’s nutrition during pre-pregnancy and pregnancy will go a long way in reducing stunting among children,” he said.
Dr Sheila C Vir, Director, Public Health Nutrition and Development Centre, New Delhi, “Poor height, thinness, BMI and anemia impacts not only maternal mortality but overall health productivity, earning and decision making capacity, family and childcare by a woman. Poor nutrition in women leads to maternal under-nutrition impairs fetal development and also increases the risk of stunting of child by 2.1 to 4.3 times.”
The discussion session was organised by the Community Medicine Department of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar in association with Unicef Odisha to discuss the women nutrition, its issues, challenges and way forward.