Thursday, June 30

Cost-Benefit Analyses of Nutrition Interventions in India’s Policy Framework

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By Abhishek Kumar & William Joe

Working Paper No- 406

The Government of India has launched several important nutrition and health programmes and interventions. This study is an attempt to estimate the costs and benefits accruing from the implementation of the national interventions. The benefits are measured in terms of the number of years of life saved due to decreased child mortality and valued at 3 times the value of GDP/capita. Benefits also include the value of avoiding a brief period of life spent living with the disability arising from nutrition related illness. Productivity benefits for those who avoid stunting have also been estimated. Three alternate scenarios have been created on the basis of specific nutrition based interventions which include counselling for behaviour change, supplementary food and an overall package consisting of both the interventions. Estimated benefits for India from the overall package at 3 times the value of per capita GDP and discounted at 3% are approximately $3070 and estimated costs are approximately $159, resulting in a benefit/cost ratio of approximately 19.4. Every dollar spent on nutrition can yield benefits of more than 19 dollars. To conclude, the coverage of nutrition-based interventions for mothers is not the problem, but the low utilization poses a challenge. On the other hand, the interventions for children need to be scaled up. Promotion and provision of timely and appropriate complementary feeding practices can improve the health outcomes among both women and children.

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