Is Covid-19 overshadowing India’s child malnutrition crisis?

“India’s economic growth in recent decades has co-existed with alarming levels of chronic hunger and stunting. The country ranked 94th among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020, way behind many other developing countries. Now, new data suggest that child malnutrition might be worsening—fewer children in India are dying, but those who survive are more malnourished and anaemic in many states”*.

In this webinar, Patralekha Chatterjee, award-winning journalist-columnist, shared her analysis of the fifth National Family Health Survey and explored how the Covid-19 pandemic might impact an already-fragile state of child nutrition.



You can consult the presentation here.


The speaker

Patralekha Chatterjee

Independent journalist, columnist and author focusing on development issues

She tweets @patralekha2011

Patralekha Chatterjee is an award-winning journalist-columnist, author, public speaker and consultant to international agencies focusing on development issues across multiple platforms. Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow at The Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP), a programme hosted jointly by Yale Law School (YLS) and Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) that tackles contemporary problems at the interface of global health, human rights, and social justice.

Over the past three decades, she has brought to the national and international consciousness the crucial importance of transdisciplinary factors in the provision of public healthcare and social determinants that impact health and development outcomes, with a focus on marginalised groups. She has written extensively on India’s child nutrition crisis in mainstream media and international medical journals such as The Lancet.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, her focus has been on the unfolding health and humanitarian crises in India She has sought to draw public attention to issues such as the challenges facing medical doctors, nurses and frontline health workers, the importance of health security, the plight of migrants, the impact of the loss of livelihood, especially among daily wage earners and informal workers without an adequate social safety net; the importance of primary healthcare facilities, without which it becomes that much more difficult to handle a pandemic. Over the past year, she has also been giving talks to scholars at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai), Institute of Public Health (Bengaluru), University of Bath Spa (UK) and many others.

Chatterjee’s writings have appeared in The Lancet, British Medical Journal, reports for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNDP, UN-Habitat, IRIN (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), portals of national think tanks and nonprofits and numerous mass media outlets, including The Atlantic (Ideas), New Statesman, MediaPart, Citiscope,, Liberation, Panos, The New Internationalist, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor,, Khaleej Times, Inter Press Service, Intellectual Property Watch and leading Indian media outlets.

She contributes a fortnightly column on politics, public policy and development issues in India and other emerging economies to The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle, two multi-edition English language newspapers with a combined circulation of 1.4 million. She writes another fortnightly column on development issues in Amar Ujala, a mass-circulated, multi-edition Hindi daily and a monthly column in Gaon Connection, a portal that focuses on rural India.

Much of her writing and photography over three decades focuses on South Asia’s teeming cities, migrants, the urban poor and their coping strategies in face of crises.

She is also an experienced media trainer and has taught health and environment journalism to postgraduate students in Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi (2008-09) and been part of initiatives to train/mentor journalists in India, Europe, and The Pacific Islands. In 2018, she was adjunct faculty. Jindal School of Journalism and Communication of O P Jindal Global University (Sonipat, Haryana), teaching a course ‘Reporting Environment & Health’ to first-year students. She co-authored a training handbook on Reporting Disaster and Disaster Preparedness, supported by the German aid agency GIZ.

Chatterjee has won several awards and fellowships, both nationally and internationally.

She was educated in Kolkata, Pune, Delhi, Oxford and Paris, and speaks Bengali, English, French and Hindi.












*The Lancet, Child and Adolescent Health, May 2021.


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Event details

When: 19 May, 2021 - 11:00 am

Where: Zoom