In order to ensure good nutrition for pregnant women, the state government has planned to give them supplemental nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program on a monthly basis, instead of the current practice of donating weekly. To this end, a pilot project was launched in Banswara district on October 5.
It is worth mentioning that it was discovered in separate investigations by the ICDS and the health department, after more than 90 deaths of low birth weight newborns at the district hospital of Banswara were recorded during the months of August-September that pregnant women in remote areas are mostly reluctant to go to Anganwadi centers to collect additional food.
âWe are day laborers and I, along with my husband Mukesh, have to work daily to feed our family of five,â said Vesti, a 22-year-old from Surpur village in Ghatol Tahsil of Banswara. Vesti is one of the mothers who lost their newborn baby a few months ago. âOur income was halved because being pregnant, I couldn’t work. At that time, taking my husband with me to the Anganwadi center would have made him miss a day’s work, which would have resulted in a total loss of a day’s salary, which we could not afford â, he said. -she explained the reason why she did not go to the Anganwadi center to collect additional food. .
The ICDS program of the Ministry of Women and Child Development is one of the flagship programs of the Indian government and represents one of the most important and unique programs in the world for early childhood care and development. As part of this program, once a week, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children aged 6 to 36 months receive a free package of nutritional supplements at the Aganwadi centers.
This ready-to-eat food contains sugar, edible oil and a dry mixture of wheat, chana dal and soy flour. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and adolescent girls receive a 950 gram packet and children receive 750 grams of nutritional supplement each week. Today, in Banswara, four sachets are given to pregnant women once every four weeks.
“The motive behind giving four packs at once is to reduce their visits to Anganwadi centers,” said Suchi Sharma, ICDS director at DNA. âComing from a poor family and day laborer, most of them are used to being less interested in visiting Anganwadi centers to collect additional food. We have launched it in 1,979 centers in Banswara district and it will be implemented in over 61,000 Anganwadi centers across the state if the pilot project is successful, âshe added.