“According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to “Life, survival and development (Article 6) and health and access to health-care services (Article 24)”
India, home to one fifth of the world’s children, ratified the convention on the Right of the Child in December 1992. Since then, rapid economic growth has lifted millions out of poverty and combined with Government action to improve trends in child survival and development.
In the 21st century, hunger and malnutrition is socially, ethically and morally unacceptable global problem. Efforts to improve nutrition have always been a major focus of India's health and nutrition research scientists. While under-nutrition remains the unfinished agenda, over-nutrition is emerging as a public health problem among children in India. Epidemiological studies show that micronutrient deficiencies continue to be widespread in all income groups and they could have adverse effect on growth and development. NFHS-3 data has revealed that 46% of the children are malnourished and more than half of the children of less than 5 years of age in the country are anaemic. It is unfortunate that although nutrition related morbidity and mortality are amongst the highest in our country yet we do not have a single programme of study in the area of Pediatric Nutrition to help in capacity building of healthcare practitioners, nutritionist and other stakeholders who deal with such problems.
Hence, an urgent need was felt for focused course design in open learning institutions in the area of Paediatric Nutrition, catering to the needs of a large number of learners -imparting knowledge, upgrading their knowledge, skills and improving their professional competencies. IGNOU has played an interventionist role, through development of an employment related programme in this area. The Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma programme(s) have been developed and launched in collaboration with Nestle Nutrition Institute.
The IGNOU Act emphasizes the need for the University to prepare such courses and programmes that would provide access to higher education for large segment of the population, in particular, the disadvantaged groups such as those living in remote and rural area including working people, women and other adults who wish to upgrade or acquire knowledge through studies in various fields.Apart from teaching, research and training, extension education is an important component of academic activities of IGNOU. Various programmes focusing on community awareness, education and training in need-based and relevant areas specific to Nutritional Sciences have been successfully undertaken by the University as a part of its strategy of social intervention and community capacity building.