Renewed Commitment to Improving Child Nutrition in Rajasthan

On 3 June 2017, the Government of Rajasthan’s National Health Mission, the Department of Integrated Child Development Services, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Action Contre la Faim (ACF), and TATA Trusts signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the second phase of the POSHAN project. The signing ceremony was chaired the Health Minister of Rajasthan, Mr. K.C. Saraf.

Despite strong economic growth over the past decades, India has one of the world’s highest demographics of children suffering from malnutrition. According to the Global Nutrition Report 2016, almost 39% of Indian children under the age of 5 are underweight, while 48% of women suffer from anaemia.

Rajasthan, India’s largest state by area, is highly affected by the problem of undernutrition, particularly in the tribal areas. It is estimated that more than 36% of children under five are stunted and 14% wasted.

The objective of the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition project – also known as POSHAN, which means “nutrition” in the local language – is to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years in Rajasthan. This goal will be achieved through coordinated efforts to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, and malnutrition.

At the completion of phase 1 of the POSHAN project in June 2016, more than 88% of the 9,640 children enrolled for treatment have recovered and have been discharged. Of these 9,128 children have been treated successfully and are now on road to good health. An independent validation, covering 10% of the total enrolled children after 4 months of follow up, showed that a vast majority of children recovered did not slip back.

The second phase of POSHAN aims to reach an additional 16,500 children from up to 50 blocks across 20 districts in the state, and the implementation is to commence shortly.

GAIN has recently developed a Management Information System for project data aggregation and reporting, and is committed to train data entry operators to ensure data collection quality. GAIN will also support activities led by other partners on community mobilization in order to help harmonize and improve community engagement. Lastly, GAIN will contribute to overall project activities by participating in Technical Advisory Committees / Project Steering Committees established by the Government of Rajasthan.

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Published 6 June 2017