Arokiya Alai (Wave of Health) is a grass roots public health awareness campaign of Action for Rural Rejuvenation, which was introduced in 2008. Health awareness events and general & multi-specialty medical camps are conducted across Tamil Nadu to create awareness on diet, nutrition, disease prevention, personal hygiene and sanitation.
According to a World Bank report
- 1 in 3 of the world's malnourished children live in India. This is worse than most African countries.
- 50% of the childhood deaths of age 0-18 yrs are because of malnutrition.
- 8.5 million people die of malnourishment every year in India.
- 60% of women are anaemic in Tamil Nadu.
The section that is most severely affected is children. It negatively impacts a child at a stage where he or she is physically still growing and developing. The damage is largely irreversible and permanent. Though India is one of the fastest-growing and sought after economies of the world, malnourishment levels still remain high. Early intervention is required to reverse this problem, which has long-reaching effects.
Non-availability of food and lack of financial resources are not the only causes of malnutrition. Over the years, myths and misconceptions about food have developed and many people in southern India do not consume nutritious food. It is generally believed that only more expensive foods are healthy. The efficacy of local and easily available food items is often ignored.
People have developed the idea that money is required to maintain a healthy diet. Simple and low cost solutions like growing moringa and papaya trees and or consuming cereals and pulses like ragi, bajra and horsegram are no longer considered.
Added to this is people’s poor knowledge about sanitation and hygiene, which when added to malnourishment, makes people prone to various infectious diseases.
The next factor that was noticed was that people approached doctors at an advanced stage of their illness due to lack of awareness of symptoms of chronic illnesses. This increased their morbidity and rate of mortality.