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Child development centres bring cheer to the malnourished

All it takes is a crucial 21 days and meals enriched with vitamins and proteins and voila,the problem of malnutrition,can be met with.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
March 4, 2009 3:20:05 am

All it takes is a crucial 21 days and meals enriched with vitamins and proteins and voila,the problem of malnutrition,can be met with. To support this novel initiative,the district officials had,last year,set up 33 child development centres (CDC) and took stock of severely malnourished children.

District health officials shortlisted a total of 233 children who were severely malnourished and belonged to Grade III and IV categories — criteria of the extent of their stunted growth. Admitting them to the CDC,along with their mothers,had the desired impact with three out of 11 children being upgraded from the severely acute malnourished Grade IV to Grade III and as many as 44 out of 88 severely malnourished Grade III children being upgraded to Grade II.

The CDCs have been started in the state under the National Rural Health Mission since 2007 and is an initiative based on WHO and UNICEF guidelines,says Naresh Gite,Director,(Monitoring) of the Rajmata Jijau Mother Child health and Nutrition Mission.

Sanjay Mhaskar,Deputy CEO of Pune Zilla Parishad and in charge of the women and child welfare section told The Indian Express that there are a total of 3.44 lakh children in the 0-6 age group in the district. Out of this,a total of 233 children were selected on the criteria of the extent of their ‘wasting’ and ‘stunting’ growth. They were admitted to 33 CDC’s where meals with nutrients and proteins were given to the children.

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A sum of Rs 140 is spent on each child which includes Rs 60 to reimburse the wages of the child’s mother who has to skip work to spend the crucial 21 days in the CDC,says Suvarna Kurle,supervisor of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS),Pune.

During the admission,all mothers are trained for proper hygiene and preparation of nutritious food and proper health care of their child. Mothers are also trained for growth monitoring of their child,says Kurle. A monthly progress report is taken from 4,392 anganwadis in the district. While 11,000 children are in the moderately malnourished grade II,the focus will be on setting up more CDCs in April this year.

“More than 10,000 children have been brought out of severe malnutrition in the state,” says Naresh Gite,Director (Monitoring),Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Nutrition and Health Mission. From 17,672 children,who were severely malnourished in Grade III and IV categories in April 2005,the number has come down to 9,627 children in the same categories. Pune division has recorded a successful implementation of the nutrition scheme where by December 2008 there were only 484 children who were severely malnourished in the Grade III and IV categories. There are 3.83 lakh children in Grade II category or one that is moderately malnourished.

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