Hyderabad: India has been ranked 102 among 117 countries on the 2019 Global Hunger Index released by Welthungerhilfe on October 15. Welthungerhilfe is a German non-governmental aid agency working in the fields of development cooperation and emergency aid. The country has dropped by one rank from 2018’s 103 and is now around the same level as Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Besides, India is far below its adversary, Pakistan.

India’s hunger problem has steadily accelerated since 2014, says the report. In 2014, India’s rank in the global hunger index stood at 55. In the years that followed, this ranking dropped to 97 in 2016 and subsequently 100 in 2017. This year, India is at a dangerous level of hunger, adds the report.

India’s position is worse than Ethiopia, Angola, and Rwanda’s. Also, our country is way behind Sri Lanka (66), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (88) and Pakistan (94). According to the report, India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height) is high at 20.8 per cent. This is the highest wasting rate of any country included in the report. After India, Yemen and Djibouti are the other two countries where wasting is most prevalent.

Besides, as per the report, India’s child stunting rate is 37.9 per cent. This rate is also categorised as very high in terms of the country’s public health significance. In India, only 9.6 per cent of kids between six and 23 months of age are provided with a minimum acceptable diet. The report opines that as open defecation is still practised in the country, this consequently put the children’s growth and development at risk.

Another alarming report by Lancet paper on child and maternal malnutrition report published in September for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India similarly revealed some shocking rate of malnutrition in India. It discussed how, from 1990 to 2017, malnutrition continues to be the most severe public health challenge across the country. As per the report, malnutrition was the predominant risk factor accounting for 68.2 per cent of the total under-5 deaths in every state of India in 2017.

According to the study, if these trends estimated up to 2017 continue in India, there would be 8.9% excess prevalence for low birth weight, 9.6% for stunting, 4.8% for underweight, 11.7% for anaemia in children, and 13·8% for anaemia in women relative to the 2022 targets. There will also be 10.4% excess prevalence for wasting, 14.5% excess prevalence for overweight and 10.7% less exclusive breastfeeding in 2030.

India has been trying to address child malnutrition for many decades through several initiatives. The report suggests more comprehensive and inclusive policies addressing all of the critical determinants of child malnutrition alongside nutrient-based interventions to accelerate the reduction of child growth failure in India

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

One comment on "India falls one rank to 102 in 2019 Global Hunger Index; Worse than Ethiopia, Angola, Rwanda and Pak"

  • In this the main culprits are United Nations agencies who blindly supporting the multinational companies that are causing water and food pollution through their technologies — even the milk is polluted and adulterated. This affected the availability of nutritious diet. Even at Paris meet Pope Francis, UN Secretary General & US President emphasised the need to control pollution but the Paris agreement document did not touch on this vital issue and included global warming which is not an important factor in tropical warm countries wherein moisture is the limiting factor. Temperature presents more than 10 oC sesonal variation and crops are adapted to such variations. Also, around 30% -50% of the food produced is going as waste. In fact climate change in terms of natural variation in rainfall plays the main role but not global warming, which is insignificant to influence production. Let the UN organizations come up with proper measures to replace the pollution based agriculture. I middle latitudes crop production relates to the availability of growing season — withdrawal and onset of winter defines the growing season period inwhich degrees days available. Here higher temperatures are important for better crop yields.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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