Chhattisgarh government tackles malnutrition, while generating livelihood options
There has been 41.54 per cent reduction in malnutrition in one and a half months in Chhattisgarh's Naxal-affected Kondagaon District
New Delhi: The war against malnutrition is being fought in the extreme Naxal-affected and tribal-dominated Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh. During the Corona period, a decrease of 41.54 per cent has been registered in the district in just one and a half years. Within a short span of time, the district has set an example by achieving success with the coordinated efforts of the departments, better strategy and monitoring. The administration has also set up an egg production unit in the district so that children can get protein-rich food items.
Today children are getting five thousand eggs from here every day. Now its second unit will also be installed. Along with this, nutritious food is being prepared from locally available Ragi and Kodo.
A WhatsApp group has been created for the eggs and grains to reach the children, the picture of the children being fed is posted in the group. Which is monitored by the collector himself.
Kondagaon district, 80 km away from Bastar division, has been away from the mainstream of development due to Naxal-affected and tribal majority. In such a situation, there have been malnutrition, and health-related problems in these villages. The rising rate of malnutrition in Kondagaon district was a challenge for the administration.
As per the data, about 37 percent children below the age of 5 years in the district were malnourished in February 2019. The biggest challenge of the administration during the lockdown during the Corona period was to control the rate of malnutrition.
District Collector Pushpendra Kumar Meena informed that 'Nangat Pila' project was started in June 2020 under the nutrition campaign. In Halbi dialect which means a healthy child. The Department of Women and Child Development has been appointed as the nodal for the completion of the project. First of all, baseline screening was started in the district in July 2020 to identify malnourished children, in which 12,726 children were identified.
The most important task under the 'Nangat Pila' project was to provide nutritious food to the children. For this, emphasis was laid on better implementation and monitoring. For this, a company named 'Udaan' was started. Self-help group women were added to provide nutritious food by Anganwadi. These women are preparing nutritious food available at the local level and are being sent to Anganwadi centres. Foods made of egg, chikki, biscuit, millet khichdi, ragi and kodo are being given to the children.
In order to provide high quality organic and indigenous eggs to the children, an egg production unit has been established in its district. 2,20,037 eggs and 35,422 kg of coarse grains have been supplied to all Anganwadis in the district.
Through this project, even during Covid, it helped to identify malnourished children in the district and distribute nutritious food to them. Having an online database of each malnourished child and tracking their progress online on a monthly basis has proved to be very useful. This is the reason that under the 'Nangat Pila' project under the Chief Minister's Suposhan Abhiyan, a reduction of 15.73 percent in malnutrition was recorded in the district in July 2021 as compared to February 2019. The number of malnourished children in 2019 was 19,572, which decreased to 11,440 in 2021.
At the same time, there has been a decrease of 41.54 percent in comparison to malnourished children in 2019. Kondagaon district has made remarkable achievements in fighting malnutrition through coordinated efforts of the departments.
Working on a different strategy
The participation of local youth was also ensured in the fight against malnutrition, they were appointed as 'Suposhan Mitra'. 1,438 Suposhan Mitras are playing an important role in monitoring and implementation in Anganwadi centres. Officers have been appointed as nodal officers of 'Nangat Pila' for cross checking.
Where each nodal officer supervises a gram panchayat. 328 such nodal offices made 418 visits to monitor the programme. Collectors review the progress of this data base through monthly review meetings. The action plan for the next month is also decided in this meeting.
Kondagaon presented an example
Malnutrition still remains a serious problem in India. The COVID pandemic has also made the situation of malnutrition in the country more worrying. According to the Global Hunger Index 2020 report, India is ranked 94th out of 107 countries with a score of 27.2, which is considered very serious.
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, more than 9.3 lakh 'severely malnourished' children have been identified in the country. At the same time, Kondagaon, a small district in Bastar division of Chhattisgarh's tribal dominated state of the country, has shown how a systematic approach towards fighting malnutrition through mutual coordination of various departments and a visionary medium can make a good impact and set a benchmark. Can do.
Nutritious food provided
To reduce malnutrition, maternal mortality, infant mortality, anemia in the district, about 4,458 children from 1 to 6 years were benefitted in the form of additional nutritious food under the Chief Minister's Suposhan Abhiyan. 28,054 pregnant and anaemic women, adolescent girls are being benefited by hot food and nutritious food, egg, chikki.
Helpful in livelihood development
Livelihood is also getting a boost in the nutrition campaign. Another important aspect of this campaign is to ensure nutrition for children by reviving Kodo, Ragi, Bajra production in the district. The district administration is also providing quality food made from Kodo and Ragi to the children. These nutritious food grains are being procured from Naxal affected villages only. The women of Gothan are involved in this work.
A group of women farmer producer women called "Udans" pack and supply kodo-kutki (coarse grain), groundnut, sugar, oil and sesame to the children of Anganwadis. These ingredients are used at Anganwadi centers to make highly nutritious Kodo Khichdi.