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Shraddha Deo Karlekar, Speaker at Nutrition Conferences
Shraddha Deo Karlekar
SNEH Foundation, India
Title: Combating Malnutrition through therapeutic/awareness interventions to address acute malnutrition in urban slums of PCMC, Maharashtra


Malnutrition has persistently remained a pressing issue for children between the ages of 0-6 yrs in India calling for a better understanding of the reasons ranging from socioeconomic and financial to awareness based or strictly related to medical conditions.

There is a strong correlation between pediatric malnutrition and level of education in the mothers. While awareness building campaigns help to improve the future of the children, a total assessment of the health of the child is imperative to design a treatment plan. In order to develop an understanding of the paradigms of how malnutrition presented in pediatric subjects, a survey was conducted, followed by individual assessment, counseling and treatment of the participants.

1864 Children were screened for malnutrition based on overall fitness and Middle-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) in the age group of 6-59 months and hence were categorized into two major groups of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). A program called CMAM (Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition) was used for screening, selection, classification, treatment and management of the participants. Subjects categorized under SAM were given life saving treatment in the form of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and those under MAM were Ready-to-use Supplementary Food (RUSF) for 8 weeks. MAM subjects were also given supplemental therapy of multivitamins, Iron and Calcium. All children under the scope received deworming and Antibiotic therapy. Anthropometry was performed weekly for SAM and bi-weekly for MAM subjects to monitor the progress. Post 8 weeks a reclassification of the subjects was done based on anthropometry results to deduce whether the subjects had moved from SAM to MAM status or had moved to a healthy zone. Those which had moved to the healthy zone were given specially formulated sustainability plans.

From the inception of the project, over the course of 7 years an average of 29.60% (SAM) and 70.36% (MAM) cases were recorded. During this period a steady decrease in SAM cases was observed with a simultaneous increase in MAM cases. At the time of conclusion of this project an average of 1.14% (SAM) and 7.90 % (MAM) cases were recorded and 97% of the subjects had moved to the healthy zone and had sustained for a 12 month cycle.


Ms. Shraddha works as a CEO at SNEH Foundation, India. She has been involved in end-to-end operations of the organization that works for Community based Malnutrition, maternal health, and Education. She has a special interest in community-based initiatives, research-based methodologies, and sustainable approaches to problems, especially while working in the urban slums of India which are the major focus areas of SNEH at the moment. She also believes that strengthening the existing systems, population control and spreading holistic awareness among the residents about healthcare is a must to have the sustainable impact of the community-based initiatives. 


Ms. Shraddha has completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology and has 11 years of experience of working in mental health. She was associated with a psychiatric hospital and a rehabilitation center for mental disorders and drug addiction. She has also worked with various special schools, K.E.M. Hospital, Poona Hospital, and Dr. Anjali Morris Educational and Health Foundation, an NGO working in the field of Specific Learning Disability and ADHD in Pune. She was heading the Maharashtra region’s team in her previous organization that worked for overall child development in various schools of Maharashtra. She has worked as a research associate with one of the leading psychiatrists in Pune. Shraddha currently serves on the state-level Mental health core committee headed by the disability commissioner of Maharashtra.