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AIPH University Hosts International Workshop on Stunting and Gut Dysfunction, July 17


Childhood stunting still remains a major concern in the growth and development of children in India. As per the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), childhood stunting rate in the country is at 35.5%, while in Odisha, it stands at 31%. Thus, with proper research and strategic intervention, we must target a substantial reduction in this number, which was reflected in various scientific sessions and panel discussions at the International Workshop on Stunting & Gut Dysfunction in Bhubaneswar on July 17. 

Stunting and gut dysfunction in children which are mainly attributed to malnutrition and various other infections have lifelong implications on cognition and human capital. So, the key stakeholders like public health researchers, policy makers and the government must make concerted and continuous efforts and give priority to deal with the issue, opined experts at the meeting. 

The workshop was conceptualized and organized by AIPH University Bhubaneswar in collaboration with Georgetown University, USA and Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) Odisha branch. The event was attended by researchers, public health and policy experts of national and international repute along with students and research scholars.

“We had a diverse group of participants who were engaged in the daylong international workshop. Soon, we will come out with a white paper based on their findings and recommendations. Moreover, it was a good opportunity for the students who got a wide exposure on the subject and networked with the experts. We are looking forward to organizing more of such events in the future”, said Prof Dr Pinaki Panigrahi, President Board of Governors, AIPH University Bhubaneswar & Director International Microbiome Research, Georgetown University Medical Centre USA. Prof Panigrahi also presented a scientific paper at the event showing the value of a healthy gut and how a mal-functioning gut in the Indian setting can inflict irreversible damage in the first two years of life of children leading to stunting and its lifelong consequences.

The public health workshop was held in a hybrid mode at Indian Medical Association House Conference Hall, Bhubaneswar. AIPH University Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr AP Dash, welcomed the eminent speakers, panellists and participants at the inaugural session. Dr Arjit Mohapatra, one of the organizers of the event and Dean School of Allied Health Sciences, AIPH University appreciated the diverse topics covered by the eminent speakers.  

"Undernourishment can impact not only a child's health but also national productivity. Stunting, a key indicator of nutritional deficiencies, is a major public health concern in our country and Odisha. So, it needs to be addressed with topmost priority", said Nutrition Policy expert Basanta Kar, in his presentation at the workshop.

Similarly, in his presentation on Giardia Infection, Dr Steven Singer from USA, informed that “Giardia infects estimated 200 million children annually. In fact, Giardiasis is one of the major factors hindering growth in children, which should be addressed worldwide”.  

The workshop was attended in person by infectious disease, public health and policy luminaries like Dr. Steven Singer, Prof. Department of Microbiology, Georgetown University USA, Dr B Ravindran, Former Director, Institute of Life Sciences Bhubaneswar, Mr. Basanta Kumar Kar, Chief Advisor-Cum-Mentor, The Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, Dr. S. Subash Babu Scientific Director, International Center for Excellence in Research NIH-National Institute of Research Chennai, Dr. Sitara Swarna Rao Ajjampur, Professor of Microbiology at The Wellcome Trust Research, Laboratory Division of Gastrointestinal Sciences Christian Medical College Vellore, Dr. Nandita Banaji Professor & Head, Dept of Microbiology, Indira Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute Puducherry, Dr. Pradeep Kumar Panda, Dean, School of Public Health, AIPH University, Dr. Sailajanandan Parida, President Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), Odisha chapter and Dr. Seba Ranjan Biswal, General Secretary IAP, who co-chaired the sessions and engaged in panel discussions at the event.

On this occasion, Prof. Niranjan Behera, Dean, School of Biological Sciences, recognized the students who were recipients of awards for Academic Excellence, and Leadership along with the winners of the university-wide research poster presentations held at the Annual Research Poster Day, July 13. 


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