Can children and adolescents really benefit from nutrition programmes in isolation, with no hygiene and sanitation to aid other aspects of their development?
The Union Women and Child Development Ministry is mapping the high-risk and vulnerable districts to strengthen nutrition surveillance. It will also set up a working group for surveillance in health and nutrition at the Central level under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
"Just providing nutritional supplements or meals won't be enough. If children get diarrhea because they drink water that is not safe for drinking, they could still be anemic. Similarly, nutritional supplements alone won't help a child who has no access to a toilet or basic hygiene", Union Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said.
A paper was prepared by the Women and Child Development and Health and Family Welfare Ministries for addressing nutritional challenges that said malnutrition was not just a child-specific problem but prevalent in every age group. The role of accredited social health activists, anganwadi workers, and auxiliary midwives too were to be taken care of.
In addition to laying emphasis on nutrition status of children, a joint training initiative, shall also be launched to strengthen care of pregnant mothers.
The nutritional rehabilitation centres under the NRHM will be strengthened by linking them to child health units and the ICDS will restructure itself to provide greater flexibility to States and districts for implementation.
The 11th Plan positions the development of children at its centre and recognizes nutrition as critical for ensuring child survival and development. The Plan also recognizes that, there is a need to deliver the benefits of various schemes at the household and community levels