Bhubaneswar: At a time when the whole country is talking about the importance of nutrition during the ongoing Poshan month, Angul district in Odisha held a unique competition in six villages to highlight the crucial role of eggs in nutrition.
Children and mothers who are beneficiaries of the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP) under the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) took part in an egg relay competition in six villages including Purunakote, Barasahi, Baliposi, Kunjam, Karadapal and Saida in Angul district from 6-8 September.
There were 10 teams in each village with one child and one mother as team members. Sarpanch and frontline health workers including Anganwadi workers (AWW) and ASHA were also present at the event to stress the relevance of eggs. The community came together to acknowledge the Odisha’s initiative to provide this benefit under the ICDS.
This competition was not only meant to highlight the importance of egg as a super food to fight malnutrition, but also the significance of the intended beneficiary consuming it.
Odisha is one of the few States to provide eggs to combat under-nutrition along with states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tripura and West Bengal.The government provides 5 eggs a week for children aged 3-6 years in Anganwadi centres and 3 eggs a week each to pregnant mothers, lactating mothers and children aged 6 months – 3 years as Take-home Ration under SNP.
Consumption of eggs not only leads to better nutrition for children but also helps in producing nutrient-rich breast milk for mothers. Eggs are one of the most easily digestible forms of protein and there is a need to ensure that the eggs provided by the government of Odisha are consumed by the mother and child.
There was a community member who dressed as an egg at the even to spread the message that there is a need to demand 12 eggs from the AWC and also to ensure that children are provided with 5 eggs every week in the hot cooked meal.
Angul Pusti Adhikar Abhiyan (APAA), a people’s movement against malnutrition in Angul district has been working towards demand generation such that the beneficiaries receive the entitled number of eggs under the supplementary nutrition programme and that the intended consume the eggs.
“Even though the AWC provides 12 eggs for the mother’s consumption, the whole household ends up eating those eggs. Through awareness programmes like these, we want to ensure that the community understands the importance of mother and child consuming those eggs,” said Bidyut Mohanty, Convenor of APAA.