NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University, today launched Poshan Gyan, a national digital repository on health and nutrition.
The launch event was addressed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar, CEO Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretary (WCD) Mr. Ram Mohan Mishra and Additional Secretary Dr. Rakesh Sarwal.
While launching the website, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, said the creation of Poshan Gyan was a landmark moment. “Real change can be brought about only through changing behaviours on the ground. High malnutrition persists despite India being a food-surplus nation, which points towards a clear need for behavioural change. With this context in mind, Poshan Gyan is an extremely important initiative, and can help make nutrition a Jan Andolan, as envisioned by our Hon’ble Prime Minister,” he said.
Mr. Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, spoke about the primacy of the challenge of nutrition in India. “This should be solved by targeting those especially vulnerable, such as pregnant women, lactating mothers and children below the age of 6 years, through the application of behavioural insights. Furthermore, this strategy can be applied to influence behaviours on breastfeeding, immunization, and many others. The Poshan Gyan platform can have a massive impact towards achieving that objective, through creating positive change in human behaviour,” he added.
Mr. Ram Mohan Mishra, Secretary, MoWCD, lauded the establishment of the Poshan Gyan portal, stating that knowledge is most useful when it aids in the betterment of society. The crowd sourcing feature of the site, he said, “can be used to disseminate nationwide solutions that have proved successful in local contexts, such as the use of a traditional grape-based concoction that was recently found to be efficacious in combating anaemia in Tamil Nadu”.
Under the guidance of Dr. Rakesh Sarwal, the Poshan Gyan repository was conceptualized as a resource, enabling search of communication materials on 14 thematic areas of health and nutrition across diverse languages, media types, target audiences and sources. Content for the repository was sourced from the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Women and Child Development and developmental organizations. The website provides an intuitive interface (multi-parametric search, multiple downloads at a point in time, easy sharing of materials via social media and easy viewing on any type of smartphone).
The repository introduces a unique crowdsourcing feature that allows anyone to submit communication material for inclusion on the website, followed by a review by a designated committee. The portal highlights the “Theme of the Month” (in line with MoHFW and MoWCD guidelines to promote key topics) and the “Most Downloaded Media” (as a way to learn about the materials that are most preferred by audiences). It also provides links to other important sites and resources, such as the webpages of MoHFW, MoWCD, NITI Aayog, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Eat Right India and others.
Several Central ministries—MoWCD, MoHFW, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution—multilateral agencies, such as UNICEF, and other key stakeholders such as FSSAI, National Institute for Nutrition, ICMR, NIRDPR, NIPCCD, F&B participated in the launch event. It was also attended by representatives of development partners such as BMGF, BBC Media Action, Jeevika, and Alive and Thrive.