Tirath highlights ICDS and multi-sectoral programmes to fight malnutrition
Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development, GOI highlighted the contribution of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the multi-sectoral programmes of the Government of India in fighting malnutrition in the country. In a meeting with Kathleen Sebelllius, Secretary, US Health and Human Services held at Washington DC on 12 June, 2012, the Minister participated along with Gulab Nabi Azad, Union Minister, Health and Family Welfare.
Speaking on the occasion Tirath shared her concern on the challenge of malnutrition, particularly among children. She stated that the problem is complex, multidimensional and inter-generational in nature. She elaborated on the role played by one of the flagship schemes being implemented by the Ministry of WCD in India, namely the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for preventing child morbidity, mortality and malnutrition. She highlighted the scheme’s contribution in providing a holistic package of services namely supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition and health education, immunisation, health check-up and referral services. She also highlighted the strong element of community partnerships and convergence with different ministries such as health and rural development.
The Minister stated that ICDS has the potential to break the intergenerational cycle of under nutrition as well as address the multiple disadvantages faced by the mother and child. She informed that this programme is specifically designed to reach the disadvantaged and low income groups in India with a huge outreach. She stated that there were 1.4 million sanctioned ICDS centres in the country, and the programme was benefitting 78.4 million children and 17.8 million pregnant and lactating mothers.
She also informed that Ministry was poised to further strengthen the programme with greater resource allocation and make it respond effectively to the challenges related with maternal and child health.
With regard to US-India bilateral co-operation, Tirath informed that she would soon be sending a delegation to get first hand knowledge of the functioning of the Head Start programme in USA which was learnt to be similar kind of community outreach programme for early childhood care.
shared that US agriculture ministry was running a programme for nutrition support for pregnant and lactating mother, which could also be looked into for cross country learnings to strengthen the nutrition component of ICDS with a focus on pregnant and lactating mothers. The Union Minster, WCD agreed to include this programme as part of the learnings under the India-US women empowerment dialogue already in progress under the India-US strategic dialogue.