Can children and adolescents really benefit from nutrition programmes in isolation, with no hygiene and sanitation to aid other aspects of their development?
This is the question that Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Krishna Tirath has raised for the Prime Minister’s National Council on Nutrition. Tirath has sent a report to the Planning Commission which her Ministry of Women and Child development prepared with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“Just providing nutritional supplements or meals wont be enough. If children get diarrhoea because they drink water that is not safe for drinking, they could still be anaemic. Similarly, nutritional supplements alone won’t help a child who has no access to a toilet or basic hygiene,” Tirath said.
Among the actionable plans she has suggested for the council to consider are the creation of a “pucca, proper identifiable building with drinking water, toilets and a kitchen to provide hot, cooked, food.”
She has also asked the council to consider whether funds from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme could be utilised to ensure provision of human resources at the village level such as Nutrition Educators, Early Childhood Care Educators, and health functionaries for home visits.