Bhubaneswar: Malnutrition persists as a significant public health challenge in Odisha. The state’s complex nutritional landscape comprises various forms of malnutrition, including under-nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and over-nutrition.
As per the report by CFNS (Coalition for Food & Nutrition Security), the prevalence of stunted and food wastage among children in Odisha for less than 5 years of age are 31.0% and 18.1% respectively. At least 8% are Severely Affected Malnourished (SAM) and 30% fall under Grade I-IV malnutrition.
The tragedy of malnourishment deaths continued unabated in the mineral-rich district of Sambalpur. The communities continued to live under conditions of semi-starvation and hidden hunger with little information and knowledge of their entitlements including benefits and services from the state.
To highlight the importance of a nutritious diet Aditya Birla Group’s Aditya Aluminum is actively engaged with the people of Sambalpur district, Rengali block, working closely with the Government. Aditya Aluminum launched the Suposhan project in 2019 with the Nutrition Garden initiative. They joined in as the pledge partner of the state Government’s ‘Suposhan’ project.
Sameer Nayak, the Unit Head of Aditya Aluminum said, “Our overall objective is to generate awareness among the residents of the six gram panchayats of the Rengali Block on the criticality of healthy food choices and their positive effect. Towards this, our Nutrition Garden initiative is designed to supplement the dietary needs of households, especially in areas where access to diverse and nutritious food is limited. Through the Suposhan Campaign, we have been able to directly impact more than 1,500 people in our model villages of Naikpada and Narupada.”
Elaborating further, Nayak said “We reach out to pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent girls, and children across all age groups. We have distributed nutrition kits to pregnant and lactating mothers, mobilized nutrition garden support from OLM (Odisha Livelihood Mission) under Mo Bagicha Abhiyaan, part of the government initiative under Poshan Mission and distributed fruit saplings for backyard fruit orchard development.”
Furthermore, Aditya Aluminum provides multivitamins recommended by pediatricians for children. A nutrition kit consisting of Horlicks, jaggery and soya chunks is supplied. The company reaches out to mothers, explaining how nutritious meals with simple ingredients can be made and served at home. Every household is given a chart of cooked meal menu to make the process easy for them.
Leelabati Nag, Child Development Programme Officer, Rengali has a lot of praise for Aditya Aluminum’s efforts. “The company is complementing the government’s efforts in this direction. The problem of malnutrition and anemia is mainly due to extremely low awareness on the subject in the community. The women who take care of the family’s well-being are themselves either working as wage laborers or are completely unaware of the actions that should be taken to improve their Red Blood Cells to fight anemia and malnutrition”.
In Odisha, the Aditya Birla Group reaches out to more than 5 lakh people touching over 2 lakh lives in 128 villages. The Group’s CSR is conducted under the aegis of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development chaired by Mrs Rajashree Birla. The Group’s vision is to actively contribute to the social and economic development of the communities in which we operate. In doing so, build a better, sustainable way of life for the weaker sections of society. And raise the country’s human development index. The Group’s CSR vision is aligned with UNSDG goals to eliminate poverty and ensure freedom from hunger.