New Delhi : The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs to address various aspects related to nutrition. POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched on 8th March 2018 to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children under 6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach. A novel feature of POSHAN Abhiyaan has been its focus on social and behavioural change communications thus paving the way for a mass movement to promote transformative change, referred to as Jan Andolan. An important focus has therefore been on ‘Behaviour Change Communication’ or BCC to address inadequate and inappropriate infant and young child feeding practices, nutrition and care during pregnancy and adolescence.
Community Based Events or CBEs have served as a significant strategy in changing nutrition practices. CBEs help to celebrate critical milestones in the life of pregnant women and children below two years of age. The gatherings serve as a platform for disseminating essential messages and to counsel pregnant and lactating women, and their husbands/mothers-in-law on appropriate nutrition and health behaviour. The events are organised every month at the Anganwadi centres (AWC) and primarily focus on promotion of maternal nutrition (Godhbharai) and/ or initiation of appropriate complementary feeding (Annaprasan).
At a national level, the Rashtriya Poshan Maah is celebrated in the month of September across the country while Poshan Pakhwada is celebrated in the month of March. Themes have included overall nutrition, hygiene, water and sanitation, anaemia prevention, importance of breast-feeding, growth monitoring, role of Poshan Panchayats, AYUSH for Well-being, ‘Back to Basics – Yoga for Health’, importance of Poshan Vatikas for cultivation of local vegetables, medicinal plants/herbs and fruits at the community level, Poshan ke Paanch Sutra, cycle rallies, defeat diarrhoea campaigns, Nukkad Natak/Folk Shows, SHG meetings, etc. More than 40 crore activities have been carried out under Poshan Maah and Poshan Pakhwada and 3.70 lakh CBEs have been conducted since the launch of the Abhiyaan across the country.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.