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Global Hunger Index (GHI) and Comprehens

  Jun 27, 2020

Global Hunger Index (GHI) and Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey(CNNS)

What is GHI?

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is an international tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. They help raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger and provide a way to compare levels of hunger among countries. 

Can you differentiate between hunger, undernutrition and malnutrition?

Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food deprivation as the consumption of too few calories to provide the minimum amount of dietary energy that each individual requires to live a healthy and productive life, given that person’s sex, age, stature, and physical activity level.

Undernutrition goes beyond calories and signifies deficiencies in any or all of the following: energy, protein, and/ or essential vitamins and minerals. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of food in terms of either quantity or quality, poor utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these factors. These, in turn, are caused by a range of factors, including household food insecurity; inadequate maternal health or childcare practices; or inadequate access to health services, safe water, and sanitation.

Malnutrition refers more broadly to both undernutrition (problems caused by deficiencies) and overnutrition (problems caused by unbalanced diets, such as consuming too many calories in relation to requirements with or without low intake of micronutrient-rich foods).

In this report, “hunger” refers to the index based on four component indicators. Taken together, the component indicators reflect deficiencies in calories as well as in micronutrients.

The GHI is based on four indicators. What are they?

  • Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (insufficient caloric intake) 
  • Child wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition) 
  • Child stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition) 
  • Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments) 

What is the source of data?

Data on the above indicators are mainly obtained from United Nations agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) along with the World Bank. 

How did India do?

GHI 2019 puts India at 102 out of 117 countries. In 2018, India was 103 out of 132. 

India did not accept the rankings fully.

How did India receive the ranking?

Niti Aayog said that GHI 2019 hasn’t done justice in capturing significant improvements made on the four key indicators in the last five years. 

Based on the currently available Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (2016-18) and Sample Registration System (SRS) (2018) data, which is more recent, India’s GHI score would actually be 27.4 instead of 30.3. The new rank will be 91instead of 102, which is a vast improvement for this year and the previous one. 

Does the CNNS survey have encouraging findings about the health of children and adolescents in India?

CNNS (2016-18) is the most recently conducted third party survey. It’s the first National Nutrition Survey conducted across India to assess the nutritional status of children from birth to 19 years. Data of more than 112,000 children were collected and state-level estimates were provided in the survey. The results of CNNS corroborate that India is progressing on nutrition front. 

The data shows an accelerated decline in stunting at the rate of 1.8% per annum, almost double that of the previous decade. 

The following trends are encouraging: 

Stunting is down to 34.7%(CNNS) from 38.4% National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16

Wasting to 17.3%(CNNS) from 21.0% (NFHS 4) 

Underweight to 33.4%(CNNS) from 35.7% (NFHS 4).

What are the measures government is taking to improve health and nutrition in India?

These improvements in nutritional indicators have been possible because of recent government of India initiatives to tackle malnutrition. There are many programmes by the health and nutrition sector to tackle undernutrition. Some of the recent initiatives underway include 

  • The launch of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) in 2017 which is a conditional cash transfer scheme (`5,000) for pregnant and lactating women, under which more than 98.16 lakhs of beneficiary women have benefitted till now. 
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan — the National Nutrition Mission launched in 2018, which focus on 1st 1,000 Days of a Child’s Life, Convergence across Ministries and Departments, Realtime, Aadhaar-linked beneficiary level monitoring and performance based joint incentives for frontline workers. 
  • Pan India launch of Rota Virus vaccination to prevent diarrhoea is also another initiative.
  • Increase in the honorarium for the field level functionaries like Anganwadi Worker and Anganwadi helper was also done last year. 
  • There is revision of per beneficiary cost norms under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) linked to inflation rates. 
  • September is celebrated every year as POSHAN Maah across the country. This helps in spreading the awareness on nutrition related issues and make it a public movement Jan Andolan. 

Through the use of technology and community mobilisation, it will be possible to see some potential outcomes through better health and wellbeing of all women and children.