India’s Child Malnutrition Tragedy

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the high child malnutrition rates in India.

Here’s an excerpt from the NYT story:

[E]ven after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse here than in many sub-Saharan African countries, and they stand out as a paradox in a proud democracy.

China, that other Asian economic powerhouse, sharply reduced child malnutrition, and now just 7 percent of its children under 5 are underweight, a critical gauge of malnutrition. In India, by contrast, despite robust growth and good government intentions, the comparable number is 42.5 percent. Malnutrition makes children more prone to illness and stunts physical and intellectual growth for a lifetime.

There are no simple explanations. Economists and public health experts say stubborn malnutrition rates point to a central failing in this democracy of the poor. Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, lamented that hunger was not enough of a political priority here. India’s public expenditure on health remains low, and in some places, financing for child nutrition programs remains unspent.

Even though several democracies have all but eradicated hunger, India’s sluggish and sometimes corrupt bureaucracy has only haltingly put in place relatively simple solutions — iodizing salt, for instance, or making sure all children are immunized against preventable diseases — to say nothing of its progress on the harder tasks, like changing what and how parents feed their children.

3 Responses to "India’s Child Malnutrition Tragedy"

  1. Stitha   March 13, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I thought Indian politicians are Idiots . No , not at all.They are in fact the brainiest of all the mortals . They devised an excellent strategy that the poor shall starve to their own deaths, thus slowly cleansing India of its poverty.

    Till that time we have to wait. Responds:

    All change (meaningful, that is) comes out of the barrel of a gun.

  2. coolfrog_20   March 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

    You know, I don’t admit it to many people (for fear of alienation, bodily harm… to name a few reasons) but I have a fantasy that one day half the population of India dissappears preferaby the POORER half – atleast for their own sake. I don’t want anybody to get hurt so it will be like they never existed so nobody would miss them. Then I think all our problems would be solved. I realise now that they don’t exist for most Indians except in perhaps numbers that SI painstakingly fishes out of the internet… to ruin our day. Thanks SI. Keep up the good work. I twice deleted the bookmark to this site in the 6 weeks that I started visiting and both times I came back (obviously) after figuring out the problem was with me and not the site. Responds:

    You write above: it will be like they never existed so nobody would miss them


    We are not sure if the injustice and misery quotient has increased in the world or we are just imagining it.

    Of course things are not as bad here as in India or most parts of Africa, but the U.S. is slowly falling off the cliff.

    As we’ve said many times (clearly to deaf ears), when you don’t have a thriving agricultural, industrial or service sector, what else is left for the U.S.? Only the military-industrial complex (causing more misery and destruction) and Hollywood.

  3. IAmAnIdiot   March 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Good. It is really nice that you are so concerned on malnutrition to Indian Children. Why don’t lead by example by publicly donating a small amount at least US $1000 to these children. then I am ready to put $500, please find out and post how we can help these children…you finally got an opportunity to correct something that repeatedly say… Responds:

    1. Whatever we do, we do on our own.

    As we’ve said in the past, our focus is on two areas: 1) Libraries 2) Healthcare in rural areas. We’ll stick to that.

    So, whatever you wish to do, please do so on your own.

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