A panel discussion on fighting hunger with digital innovations
Welthungerhilfe India’s nutrition expert Sweta Banerjee is in Berlin to attend the Re:publica, Europe’s largest annual conference for digital culture. She spoke about the innovative app that is being developed to save children’s lives using augmented reality.
The “Child Growth Monitor” is a mobile application that can help detect malnourished children quickly and accurately through a 3D scan.
Over 815 million people suffer from starvation and hunger worldwide. Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths of children under age 5. Children in Asia and Africa are among the worst affected. Though the world community is working to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, the progress to reach the target has been slow.
Lack of data hampers progress
Welthungerhilfe’s nutrition expert Sweta Banerjee
One of the reasons hampering the progress is lack of reliable information on undernutrition at the community level. A failure to detect severe malnutrition at an early stage can lead to irreversible damages to children and their health. This has larger implications as well, as Nutrition expert Sweta Banerjee explains. “Local and national level planning and policy-making is directly associated with reliable data and information on nutrition and is affected due to the dearth of it. Lack of accurate information on undernutrition at the community level often becomes an impediment in the allocation of necessary support systems,” Sweta says.
As the clock is ticking on the Global Goals, innovations are needed that can help accelerate the pace of reaching the targets.
And here the “Child Growth Monitor” can prove to be a game changer, particularly in countries, where detecting malnourished children is a challenge. Using infrared plus camera of latest generation mobile phones, the easy to use app is being designed to scan children and determine their weight and height, thereby instantly detecting malnutrition.
The app has been pretested in Mumbai in collaboration with Action Contre la Faim (ACF) recently. It will be field tested further before being rolled out at a wider level.