Tuesday November 12, 2019

Fortification of Milk, a Viable Strategy to Fight Malnutrition

Rath said about two billion people globally suffer from micronutrient deficiencies accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the global health burden

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Milk, Vehicle, Fortification
38.4 per cent of children five years of age in India are stunted. Pixabay

The Milk Fortification project, a joint initiative of World Bank, Tata Trusts and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), aims to process about two million tonnes of fortified liquid milk during the next 23 months to reach 30 million consumers as a strategy to tackle malnutrition.

Inaugurating an awarness workshop on ‘Sustaining Efforts of Milk Production in India’ on Friday, National Dairy Development Board Chairman Dilip Rath said Vitamin A and D deficiencies were widely prevalent in India.

“Fortification of appropriate foods with Vitamin A and D is a viable strategy to tackle micronutrient malnutrition,” he added.

Rath said about two billion people globally suffer from micronutrient deficiencies accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the global health burden.

Milk, Vehicle, Fortification
The Milk Fortification project, a joint initiative of World Bank, Tata Trusts and National Dairy Development Board. Pixabay

According to 2009 reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), India bears the burden of more than a quarter of the world’s Vitamin A deficient preschool children and more than 13 million susceptible infants to iodine deficiency.

According to National Family Health Survey-4 data, 38.4 per cent of children five years of age in India are stunted, 21 per cent wasted and 35.7 per cent are underweight.

“Milk in India has emerged as the best vehicle for fortification with its high volume of production, widespread distribution network, affordability and all around acceptability in the daily food habit,” Rath pointed out.

“We are world’s largest milk producing country and our per capita availability has now increased to 375 grams per day,” he added.

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Moreover, milk fortification was highly affordable and cost effective as it cost less than 2 to 3 paisa per litre, Rathid Rath said.

NDDB is providing consultancy service to World Bank for the implementation of the milk fortification project as well as technical and financial support to the federations for project implementation, including development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for fortification and testing, quality assurance and quality control for fortification, conducting fortification training building and developing promotion materials.

Rajan Sankar, Director, The India Nutrition Initiative (TINI), Edward W Bresnyan, Senior Agricultural Economist, World Bank, Madhusudan Rao, Nutrition Lead, Tata Trusts, Vivek Arora, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts, Dr RK Marwaha, Member of scientific panel, FSSAI, Dr CS Pandav, Member, National Council for India’s Nutritional Challenges, Poshan Abhiyan, also participated in the workshop.

Milk, Vehicle, Fortification
Fortification of appropriate foods with Vitamin A and D is a viable strategy to tackle micronutrient malnutrition. Pixabay

The fortification is strictly carried out as per the SOPs developed by NDDB and FSSAI and the milk federations and producers have to regularly submit reports to the Board.

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According to the NDDB Chairman, of the 25 project proposals approved, fortification has been launched in 15 milk federations and trials have completed in 10 others. About one million metric tonnes of milk has been fortified so far. (IANS)

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New Device Can Detect Unattended Kids Or Animals

The new device developed in University of Waterloo, Canada can detect unattended kids and animals

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This new device can help save kids and animals in vehicles. Pixabay

Researchers from University of Waterloo, Canada, have developed a new device which combines radar technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals with a 100 per cent accuracy.

Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand at just 3nm in diameter, the device is designed to be attached to a vehicle’s rear-view mirror or mounted on the ceiling.

According to the researchers, it sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. The built-in AI then analyses the reflected signals.

“Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy and it doesn’t have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats, for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car seat,” said study researcher George Shaker, a Professor at the University.

“This system is so affordable it could become standard equipment in all vehicles,” he added.

Development of the wireless, disc-shaped sensor was funded in part by a major automotive parts manufacturer that is aiming to bring it to market by the end of 2020.

Analysis by the device determines the number of occupants and their locations in a vehicle.

That information could be used to set rates for ride-sharing services and toll roads, or to qualify vehicles for car-pool lanes.

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According to the researchers, the device sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. Pixabay

Its primary purpose, however, is to detect when a child or pet has been accidentally or deliberately left behind, a scenario that can result in serious harm or death in extremely hot or cold weather, the study said.

In such cases, the system would prevent vehicle doors from locking and sound an alarm to alert the driver, passengers and other people in the area that there is a problem.

The low-power device, which runs on a vehicle’s battery, distinguishes between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle breathing movements.

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Researchers were now also exploring the use of that capability to monitor the vital signs of drivers for indications of fatigue, distraction, impairment, illness or other issues.

The study was presented at the IEEE Sensors 2019 conference in Canada. (IANS)