12,000 undernourished children identified in eight states with WCD’s new monitoring methods | india-news | Hindustan Times
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12,000 undernourished children identified in eight states with WCD’s new monitoring methods

The mobile phone updates replace the manual monitoring with a centralised interactive system where an alert goes out to parents, the ministry when an anganwadi worker comes across a child who is either severely underweight or whose growth has remained static.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2017 22:45 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
India has one of the highest percentages of malnourished children in the world at 42%. Despite running one of the oldest child nutrition programmes, the ICDS has so far failed to address the country’s abysmal maternal and child health track record.
India has one of the highest percentages of malnourished children in the world at 42%. Despite running one of the oldest child nutrition programmes, the ICDS has so far failed to address the country’s abysmal maternal and child health track record. (AP File Photo)

The Union women and child development (WCD) has identified 12,000 undernourished children across 77 districts in eight states, with new monitoring methods. The health deficiencies were discovered after the ministry launched a pilot project in June, where it equipped 50,000 child care workers (anganwadis) at the block level with smart phones to monitor the health of 36 lakh children under six years on a daily basis. The project was launched as part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

“The anganwadi worker records the height and weight of each of the children, what food they are served and sends the information to the centralised database monitored at the block level and the Centre,” said WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava on Wednesday.

The mobile phone updates replace the current manual monitoring with a centralised interactive two-way system where an alert goes out to parents, the CDPO (child development project officer) and the WCD ministry when an anganwadi worker comes across a child who is either severely underweight or whose growth has remained static over a period of time.

“This will help us monitor the impact of ICDS by tracking the status of the undernourished or severely malnourished children and make necessary intervention,” Union WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said.

The current manual system is often fudge-prone, ministry officials said.

The ICDS is one of the oldest programmes of the government to monitor health and nutrition of children in the 0-6 age group.

Encouraged by the results of the ongoing project, which is funded by the World Bank, the ministry plans to expand it to include every child in these districts by early next year.

India has one of the highest percentages of malnourished children in the world at 42%. Despite running one of the oldest child nutrition programmes, the ICDS has so far failed to address the country’s abysmal maternal and child health track record.

In 2013, a CAG report had come down heavily on the WCD ministry for diverting ICDS funds and blamed it for “inadequacy” in its monitoring system.

The CAG report had found that state governments had regularly diverted funds to the tune of Rs 57.82 crore from ICDS to activities not permitted under the programme.