The initiative is part of India’s flagship Poshan Abhiyan programme to ensure better nutritional outcomes for the aforementioned demographics. It is is to be conducted according to plans drawn up by the Department of Women and Child Welfare, and in conjunction with voluntary organisations, schools and individuals.
These programmes and initiatives have been timed to coincide with the month of September, which has been declared ‘national nutrition month’ in India.
The Intinta Poshana Samburalu initiative, has already implemented ‘Anganwadi to every home’ in the Vikarabad district of Telangana, where there are currently 1,106 Anganwadi centres (rural childcare centres) across its five Integrated Child Development Services.
These centres cater to 7,089 pregnant women, 6,530 lactating mothers and 65,062 children.
The Poshan Abhiyan programme will take place over the course of four weeks. The first week will see district officials addressing the general public in a series of meetings to help raise awareness on nutrition, while in the second week, there will be rallies in the village to encourage greater public participation.
This will be followed by nutrition exhibitions held in the villages in the third week, and will end in the fourth week with awareness campaigns to educate people on the effects of malnutrition on pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children.
Anganwadi workers will conduct house visits to distribute medicine and nutritional supplements to those suffering from malnutrition, as well as to explain the importance of a balanced diet, essential vitamins, and proper hygiene.
Government officials said in a statement: “This programme is to increase awareness among pregnant and lactating mothers on nutrition. Our focus is on minimising anaemia and malnutrition among women, and decreasing the number of low birth weight children.
“We will visit every home and explain people on various aspects of nutrition and infant and newborn care.”
There have been several nutrition initiatives rolled out in India recently, targeted at mothers and children. Last month, India’s Central Food Technological Research Institute announced its collaboration with Hassan’s deputy commissioner to develop a nutritional powder for pregnant and lactating women.
Iron-deficiency anaemia is also especially common among women in South Asia, leading authorities to concentrate on iron fortification of foods.