The Centre on October 10 launched a standardised national protocol to identify and provide extensive care to malnourished children in the country which includes fresh initiatives like appetite testing and “buddy mother” concept.
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The ‘Protocol for Management of Malnutrition in Children’ was launched by Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani in New Delhi.
It provides detailed 10-step guidelines for identification and management of malnourished children at the Anganwadi level, including decision-making for referral, nutritional management and follow-up care.
The guidelines include growth monitoring, appetite testing, nutritional management of malnourished children and follow up care of children who manage to achieve requisite growth parameters after intervention.
It also includes unique initiatives like the “Buddy mother” concept which was first used in the state of Assam. Under this scheme, the mother of a healthy baby guides the mother of a malnourished child at an Angandwadi centre every week.
Launching the new protocol Ms Irani said the new guidelines will check malnutrition among children. She said, the government is tackling the issues of malnutrition through the implementation of ‘Poshan Abhiyan’.
The identification of malnourished children and their treatment is an integral aspect of Mission Poshan 2.0 and more than 17 crore activities have taken place during the ‘poshan maah’ (nutrition month).
The standardised protocol is significant as until recently, treatment of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) was considered to be restricted to facility-based approaches.
This is the first time this issue would be addressed at the Anganwadi level, including decision-making for referral, nutritional management and follow-up care.