Nov 16, 2013

‘Ayush Pusti- ayurvedic biscuits’ soon to address malnutrition in children in Karnataka

After launching health coverage schemes for below and above poverty line families, the State government has decided to launch “Ayush Pusti”, a nutrition programme for providing ayurvedic biscuits to eliminate malnutrition among children aged less than five years.
The programme would be launched soon on a pilot basis in Bagalkot and Jamkhandi taluks under the initiative of the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
The presence of a large number of malnourished children was a major criterion for selecting the two taluks under the programme, Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader has said. Ayurvedic biscuits would be supplied to anganwadi children daily to enhance their weight and nutrition level. Funds sanctioned under the National Rural Health Mission would be utilised for the scheme. The government has been providing nutritious food, incurring Rs. 6.90 per day per child, for severely malnourished children, he said.
Infant mortality
Pre-mature delivery and low birth weight (26 per cent) was a major cause for infant morality in the State during 2012-13. Infant mortality in the State was 35 per 1,000 live berths in 2012-13 against that target of 24 per 1,000 live berths, according to Economic Survey for 2012-13.
Malnutrition continued to be a problem with a large number of children under age five in below poverty line families in districts such as Bagalkot, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Belgaum and Koppal. Malnutrition leads to stunted growth and illness in children. The department would, with the support of anganwadi staff, monitor the weight of the targeted children every three months to assess their health condition, under the programme. Based on the success of the pilot project, it would be extended to other districts, he said.
The Minister said, “There is a great scope to mitigate malnutrition in north Karnataka by distributing nutritious biscuits to anganwadi children free. Deficiency in A and C vitamins among children results in poor physical growth, impairment in mental growth, anaemia, night blindness, scurvy and other problems,” he said.
A research wing of the Department of AYUSH has come out with the product to tackle malnutrition among children from below poverty line families.
The product would be sent to the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, for developing a package for the product. Later, the bakery industry would be asked to produce biscuits in bulk, an official said.
Earlier, Judge of the High Court of Karnataka N.K. Patil submitted a report recommending 112 measures for tackling malnutrition in the State.
The government has initiated steps to implement a majority of these recommendations, the official said.



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