Community program

Need for an accelerated community program to counter SAM in pandemic reflux: CMAM Association

New Delhi [India], March 28 (ANI/NewsSee): With the COVID pandemic receding after a milder third wave and life returning to normal, an accelerated Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) program is needed to prevent children from falling prey to life threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM), said the CMAM Association of India. Poshan Abhiyan has played an active role in meeting the nutritional needs of children to improve the nutritional status of India. However, the COVID pandemic, leading to an interruption in the provision of complementary nutrition for almost two years, is said to have had a direct impact on the nutrition of children, especially in vulnerable sections of society. This has led to children becoming increasingly vulnerable to malnutrition and also severe acute malnutrition (SAM) which UNICEF says is the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition, said Akshat Khandelwal, President of the CMAM Association.

The case fatality rate (CFR) in children with SAM regularly exceeds 20%, while the CFR for COVID is 1-2% in India. This underscores the urgency of screening and treating SAM, which can best be done with community support. Since its inception, the CMAM Association of India has strived to place CMAM at the heart of all government efforts to reduce the incidence of SAM in the country. According to the association, the use of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), as prescribed by UNICEF and WHO, in a community setting could help discharge a large number of children with SAM. of this debilitating disease and to prevent many others. fall prey to the same. The results of the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) Phase 1 unequivocally indicate the urgent need to contain SAM in the country. There is an increase in the incidence of SAM in 16 of the 22 states and union territories. In about 8 states, the incidence of SAM is higher in urban areas than in rural areas. COVID-19 has likely further worsened nutrition levels in the country and put even more children at risk.

While the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has effectively created a network of Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers (CNRs) where SAM children with complications can be treated, more than 85% of SAM children do not need CNR and can be treated effectively in the community through CMAM programs. Globally, approximately 3.5-4 million children are treated annually through CMAM programs by providing RUTFs. As such, there are only 1200 nutritional rehabilitation centers in India which can accommodate less than 5% of SAM children. Simple cases can be treated through CMAM programmes, as proven by several pilot trials in the country to which members of the CMAM association have actively contributed.

Members of the CMAM Association are the major producers of RUTF in India and have been exporting RUTF to other countries for years. The Association is committed to responding to the Prime Minister’s call for “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. With a manufacturing capacity of over 20,000 tons of RUTF per year, we can support over 13,50,000 SAM children per year. We are also capable of scaling up manufacturing of different formulations/products as mandated by government/public health agencies to fight against SAM, Akshat added. This story is provided by NewsSee. ANI will not be responsible for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsSee)

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