Addressing the problem of Malnutrition in the country, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India introduced a flagship program titled POSHAN Abhiyaan (The PM’s Overarching Scheme For Holistic Nourishment) or the National Nutrition Mission (NNM). This scheme aims at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women, and Lactating Mothers within a specific period of time.
Aim of the Scheme
The NNM is an all-inclusive methodology towards bringing nourishment level up in the nation on a war footing. The scheme proposes to ensure service delivery by use of more technology, behavioural change through incentives and lists down specific targets to be achieved in a phased manner, thus eradicating malnutrition from the country.
It aims to map all the different schemes contributing towards malnutrition, an exceptionally strong convergence mechanism, ICT based Real-Time Monitoring framework, adding incentives for States/UTs for gathering the objectives, boosting Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for utilizing IT-based devices, eliminating registers utilized by AWWs, presenting measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centers (AWCs), Social Audits, setting-up Nutrition Resource Centers, including masses through Jan Andolan for their support on nourishment through different exercises, among others.
The Initial Phase & Impact
Focusing on results, the initial phase of the project kick-started in 2017 by piloting interventions, which included incremental learning for community nutrition workers. The nodal ministry sent out guidelines through each department for community mobilization. This has since then trained about 0.4 million ICDS staff and nutrition workers, on maternal, child nutrition counselling and about 29.7 million pregnant and lactating women through the ICDS service in 162 districts in 8 states.
Impacts of Poshan Abhiyaan
Using technology, a targeted approach and moving in the same direction in a phased manner, this scheme introduced can reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, low-birth weight, and anaemia. IT also focuses on pregnant women and lactating mothers, adolescent girl children, thus on a whole addressing the issue of malnutrition.
Identifying the existing gaps in the already existing Anganwadi services and bringing innovation through technology, this scheme looks at deploying a multipronged approach. Taking it to the people through various community deployment programs thus creating a nutritionally aware society
Making sure of a holistic approach the way forward would be to implement NNM in a phased manned that all 36 states/UTs and districts would be covered and more than 10 crores would be benefitted from this scheme. The Ministry of Women and Child development will provide the necessary platform and augment a synergized approach to eradicate malnutrition in the country.
This project will include investments to improve the skills of ICDS staffs, introducing technology-based tools for constant monitoring, management, and implementation, aiding community helpers and nutrition workers in every district for better outreach to the beneficiaries.
The guidelines distributed through ICDS to all states/UTs stated the suggested outcomes must be targeted for the pilot implementation.
- Bringing all the services in one umbrella under the Poshan Abhiyaan
- IYCF practices to be maintained even at household levels, especially pertaining to breastfeeding.
- Reducing nutritional anaemia among adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, and children.
- Providing better access to good quality nutrition for complementary feed in households under the poverty line.
- Bringing about a clear mechanism to identify SAM children in time and providing care for them.
- To improve managing the child feeding during and after an illness.
- Providing improvements in hygiene determinant of nutrition.
- Improving access to all departments simultaneously.
- Serviceability of Anganwadi centres.
- Bringing about innovations towards behavioural change communication.
- Increasing the nutrition efficiency of centres.
The States/UTs could choose pilot programs from the above or introduce innovation targeting the same. All programs were to be monitored by the departments, and the norms for funding for the same was evaluated based on the proposal shared, which should include the following:
- A clear action plan with timelines
- Robust monitoring and Evaluation structure
- Indicate implementation structure and funds flow
- Depict Scalability and contextual specificity
- Clarity and relevance of the concept to be introduced
- The mechanism, of course, correct if the need arises
The National Nutrition Mission (NNM) has been set up with a multi-year spending plan of Rs.9046.17 crore initiating from 2017-18. Funded by the government Budgetary Support (50%) and by IBRD or MDB an amount of Rs.9046.17 crore will be expended for this holistic overarching scheme of the Prime Minister. Government budgetary support would be 60:40 between Centre and States/UTs.
The vision to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022 continues through more innovations and pilot programs and has reached the grass root level households. In February 2019, the UNICEF representative in India observed that the Poshan Abhiyaan has received global recognition for its effort in eradicating the malnutrition.