Addressing the malnutrition challenge in the Indian context is one of the key focus area for the Trusts. The Trusts, under the leadership of Mr. Tata, have prioritised malnutrition because of the alarming statistics that we have in the country and the inter-generational consequences the problem has. Malnutrition is believed to be the underlying cause of over 45 percent of under-five mortality. India has a high prevalence of childhood stunting and maternal and childhood Anemia. These can have long term effects on cognition and overall productivity. There is evidence that malnutrition can result in potential Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses of 2-3 percent and a more than 10 percent potential reduction in lifetime earnings for each malnourished individual.
Given the multi-factor and complex nature of the issue, the Tata Trusts have adopted a multi-pronged approach to be able to address the issue of malnutrition effectively and at scale. The Trusts will make strategic investments that would play a gap-filling or a catalytic role in the ecosystem and engender better health outcomes. The effort broadly, has been to look for existing and emerging ‘platforms’ to deliver enhanced nutrition. To address the challenge of stunting, the Trusts are taking an intense multi-sectoral approach looking at maternal care, water and sanitation, behavioral change communication and poverty alleviation in an integrated way. To address the challenge of micronutrient deficiencies, the Trusts are looking at fortification of staple food vehicles such as flour, salt, oil, and milk.
Some of the key initiatives undertaken by the Trusts are:
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