Dadra & Nagar Haveli set out the template for convergence to combat malnutrition amid pandemic

by Times of India

NEW DELHI: While the challenges arising out of the Covid-19


threatens to worsen the nutrition status of malnourished children from poor families, the administration of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu are showing the way out of the mess. The tribal dominant union territory with high prevalence of


has since August screened around 25,500 children and found 791 suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) who are now being monitored with the required health and nutrition interventions.

As per National Family Health Survey-4 while the all India data put the number of children who are wasted at 19.8% it was 27% for Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. The India data for severely malnourished was 6.4% but in the UT it was 12.7%. The UT presented its experience and fight against malnutrition at a webinar on Monday on the best practices under the Central government’s flagship programme “Poshan Abhiyan” (National Nutrition Mission).

Reiterating that the key focus in the ongoing nutrition month (Poshan Maah) and thereafter is going to be on identifying SAM children and providing them the necessary support, union women and child development minister Smriti Irani on Monday cited the Dadra & Nagar Haveli as a case study that can be a template for others to follow and can scaled up nationally too. The minister also shared that in the next 15 days the ministry will give all states a new set of composite guidelines which come with reference to convergence efforts of all ministries and experts in the field of nutrition.

At the webinar, tThe Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu officials shared the reason for launching a special drive. Since April take home ration was introduced as anagwadis were closed for safety and children and cooked meals were therefore replaced with take home rations.The nutrition programme under the Integrated Child Development Programme applies to 0-6 year old children and has components for pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls.

The department of women and child development of the UT during field assessments found the take home ration being provided for the child was not being consumed fully by the child and was being shared by other members of the family too which would lead to insufficient nutritional intake in case of the child. To address this issue an intervention of screening all children was planned in convergence with the health department to focus on severely malnourished children.

The other best practices presented at the webinar included Uttarakhand’s experience linked to a programme where they encouraged government officials to take responsibility of monitoring one SAM child. The state shared how 2000 severely malnourished children under this focused supervision have recovered and is an example of public participation. Similarly, Gujarat presented its experience with online tracking and adoption of SAM children. Odisha shared its work on revamping supplementary nutrition preparation and distribution and inclusion of millets. Lakshadweep shared its experiment with setting up nutri-gardens through

Anganwadi Centers

and efforts to grow vegetables to prevent shortage in the ongoing pandemic.

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