Bid for better nutrition for children on track: NGO

Food for thought: Volunteers check the weight of a six-year-old with Severe Acute Malnutrition in Palghar district.  

Mumbai: A concentrated effort to strengthen health and nutrition during early childhood appears to have paid dividends in the State’s four malnutrition-hit districts.

The Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) by NGO Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT) has reached out to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children up to two years of age to bring changes in children’s nutrition.

Chhaya Rade, chief operating officer, CCDT, said, “The government has an Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) department and aanganwadis for providing preschool education and nutrition. Under the UNI, we have attempted to strengthen existing services.”

The CCDT, which heads a consortium of four NGOs implementing the project — Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi, Vachan, Foundation for Mother and Child Health and Indian Social Service Unit of Education — has partnered with Tata Trusts and the State government’s Rajmata Jijau Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Mission (RJMCHNM). The UNICEF is providing technical support.

‘Results showing’

The project has been implemented in 846 aanganwadis in Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Nagpur districts has reached out to 32,258 children, 12,383 pregnant mothers and 12,338 lactating mothers since it was started in March 2015.

Ms. Rade says, “Of these children, we have closely followed Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnourished (MAM) children and monitored their growth. We have seen children who were so malnourished they couldn’t walk. They are healthier now. The focus has been on the first 1,000 days of life.”

Procedural lapses

While implementing the project, field workers identified problems like children not being weighed regularly. They also found that the Take Home Ration (THR) provided under the ICDS not well accepted, and intended beneficiaries were reluctant to approach government-run nutrition rehabilitation centres.

Apart from compulsory weighing of children and explaining the importance of monitoring the child’s growth through weight, project workers held demonstrations on nutrition and provided relevant recipes for THR.

The CCDT will release a comprehensive report on Thursday.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 2:13:21 PM |

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