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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 October, 2019

  • Min Read

Global Hunger Index, 2019

Context:

The 2019 Global Hunger Index report has been released.

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

What is Global Hunger Index?

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is jointly published by Concern worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The score if the index is calculated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It measures and tracks hunger at regional, national and global levels.

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

  1. UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake
  2. CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.
  3. CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.
  4. CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Key findings:

India’s status:

  • India ranked 102 on the index among 117 qualifying countries with a score of 30.3. Even North Korea, Niger, Cameroon fared better than India.
  • Neighboring countries too bagged better spots — Sri Lanka (66), Nepal (73), Pakistan (94) and Bangladesh (88).
  • India bagged the top spot in child wasting rate in the world with an increase of 4.3 percentage points in nine years.
  • Around 90 per cent of children aged between 6 and 23 months in the country don’t even get minimum required food.
  • When it comes to stunting in children under five, the country saw a dip, but it’s still high — 37.9 per cent in 2019 from 42 per cent in 2010.
  • Despite the Swachh Bharat campaign, open defecation is still practiced in India. It jeopardises the population’s health and severely impacts children’s growth and their ability to absorb nutrients.

Global scenario:

  1. The report is topped by Central African Republic.
  2. It is becoming difficult to feed the world due to climate change.
  3. While there has been progress in reducing hunger, but the gains are now being threatened and severe hunger persists in many regions across the world.
  4. Multiple countries have higher hunger levels now than in 2010, and approximately 45 countries are set to fail to achieve low levels of hunger by 2030.
  5. Among the 117 countries, 43 have “serious” levels of hunger. The Central African Republic is in the “extremely alarming” level in the hunger index.
  6. The Global Hunger Index recommends various steps the countries could take to tackle this serious problem: Prioritizing resilience among the most vulnerable groups, better response to disasters, addressing inequalities, action to mitigate climate change are among measures suggested in the report.

Concerns for India:

  1. These findings point at a serious food crisis since wasting is “a strong predictor of mortality among children under five and is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease.
  2. India’s hunger indicators have a huge impact on the total indicators of the region owing to its large population.
  3. The data shows that India’s poor scores were pulling down South Asia to a point where it does worse than even sub-Saharan Africa.

What needs to be done?

In India, to combat the malnutrition levels both immediate and long term interventions are needed.

  1. Around 85 to 90% of wasting can be managed at the community level.
  2. Now, the nutritional rehabilitation centres are coming up across the country. It can help in taking care of the institutional needs of the children who are already malnourished.
  3. But to prevent it from happening, mothers need to be educated about nutrition at anganwadis, access to clean drinking water and sanitation has to be ensured, and livelihood security is needed.
  4. However, for immediate intervention, nutritional formulation needs to be made available at community level.
  5. The government can utilise the existing network of public distribution system, have the self-help groups prepare packaged, portioned nutritional formulations to help the moderately malnourished before wasting happens.

Source: The Hindu


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