India can defeat COVID-19 with more investments in nutrition

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons. For one, it has exposed the dangers to human life through infectious diseases.

The time-tested measures that help a nation fight any epidemic are:

  • A healthy population
  • Adequate hospitalisation facilities

On both the above counts, India fares very poorly.

Moreover, measures such as social distancing cannot work effectively in a country like India, which is rife with urban slums. Therefore, our focus needs to be on other measures that can be brought into effect immediately.

India has a very large malnourished population:

  • 51.4% of women of reproductive age have anaemia.
  • 9.1% of adult men and 8.3% of women have diabetes.
  • Obesity, which is another form of malnutrition, also coexists with undernutrition in India. 5.1% of women and 2.7% of men have obesity.
  • India’s child-wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent, among the highest in the world.
  • Among 117 countries, India ranks 102 position in the Global Hunger Index 2019. It has, in fact, slipped in its ranking of 95 from 2018. Today, India ranks behind its neighbours Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 
  • A nutritionally deficient population cannot withstand the onslaught of diseases such as COVID-19. However, all of the above-mentioned problems are preventable and directly linked to incorrect diets.

India also ranks very poorly in terms of providing adequate hospital care for its citizens. This is yet another reason to get our preventive measures in place.

The aim of this petition is to ensure a healthy population that is better protected nutritionally to fight major diseases. 

We appeal to the Honourable Prime Minister, who has shown wisdom and firm leadership, to reallocate the budget of Rs. 20,000 Crore meant for the redesigning the Central Vista in Delhi, including the Parliament House and the buildings around Rajpath, towards the purpose of India's nutritional well-being, which is a far more urgent need in the wake of this pandemic.