The Rajasthan government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with and an NGO to boost the fight against malnutrition that affects about two lakh children in the state.
Rajasthan has 73 lakh children under five years of age according to the 2011 census. Rapid Survey of Children (RSOC) by the state health department 2013-14 revealed that 2.9% children aged 6-50 months suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Ten per cent of these have medical complications, while 2 lakh SAM children are without complications.
The MoU was signed last week between integrated child development services (ICDS) of the department of women and child development ministry and World Vision India.
It seeks to establish collaboration between the two entities to improve nutritional status of children under five years, reduce anaemia in adolescent girls and improve the service delivery of health and nutrition services of 500 Anganbadi centers through its area development programmes in Alwar, Baran, Bundi, Barmer, Dungarpur, Tonk, Pratapgarh and Udaipur.
An ICDS official on condition of anonymity said the objective behind the collaboration is to reduce the prevalence of wasting, stunting and underweight amongst children under two years of age, improve efficiency of the project level functionaries to deliver the services effectively, enhance the delivery of key services of Anganwadi centres (AWC) and strengthen the monitoring information system (MIS).
On the role and responsibility of the NGO, he said a ‘Poshan Doot’ (nutrition messenger) will be designated for every 5-10 AWCs – the existing mother groups and self help groups will be revived by Doots and they will mobilise pregnant and lactating women and adolescents girls to the AWCs for monthly meetings.
The Doot will provide technical handholding support to the ASHA workers and help to improve their counselling skills. The NGO will support AWCs with infrastructure such as salter scale, bathroom scale and IEC material. The NGO will provide required training to accredited social health activists (ASHA) workers and periodically monitor the take home ration distribution. A vehicle dubbed Bal Raksha Vahan will be provided to transport children suffering from SAM to malnutrition treatment centres.