In 2017, Tata Trusts set out with a goal to demonstrate sustainable improvement in the nutritional status of the population, with special focus on reducing stunting and anaemia. Refurbishment of Anganwadi centres, capacity building and training of frontline workers, and community mobilisation activities have helped increase footfall in AWCs by over 30 per cent, as well as in advancing nutrition indicators, in three districts of Maharashtra, a statement issued on Tuesday said.
The programme adopted a multi-pronged approach in its execution, and identified Palghar, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts, which covered 4,114 Anganwadi centres, 4.45 lakh children under the age of six, and 16 lakh women of reproductive age.
The developing model included upgrading over 3,200 Anganwadi centres across Palghar district. The programme also organised joint capacity-building training of 6,352 frontline workers. More than 11,000 community-based events in three districts were organised to address the issue of severely acute malnourished and severely underweight children. More than 3,000 household visits were made, while close to 300 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), as well as high-risk pregnant mothers, were tracked until March 2020.
Owing to this multi-pronged approach, the AWCs in these districts have seen a steady rise in footfall over the past three years since the programme’s implementation, by over 30 per cent.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, after procuring necessary approvals from the district administration, the members of the programme formed WhatsApp groups of beneficiaries and Anganwadi workers, using smartphones granted under the POSHAN Abhiyaan scheme, which helped in the resumption of all activities on ground, virtually.
So far, through 467 WhatsApp groups, the programme has trained 5,137 Anganwadi, ASHA and ANM workers. With the support of frontline workers, the programme was able to counsel and provide support to 2,834 pregnant and lactating women. By virtually monitoring and supporting 573 Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days, the programme has been able to track and follow up with 440 high-risk pregnant mothers, and 361 high-risk young children, as well as 355 SAM children, who are being provided with energy-dense nutritious food by the state government, the statement stated.
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