- Due to the unique physiological/developmental needs, women and children are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of malnutrition.
- As per the latest National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5), 18.7% women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years) have a body mass index below normal (BMI<18.5 kg/m2) and 57% of them suffer from anaemia.
- Further, the NFHS-5 data also reveals that of the children aged less than five years, nearly 35.5% are stunted (low height-for-age), 19.3% and 7.7% wasted/severely wasted (low weight-for-height) and 32.1% underweight (low weight-for-age).
- All these indicate high levels of under/malnutrition among women and children which are associated with their poor nutritional intakes.
- POSHAN Abhiyan:
- Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition – POSHAN Abhiyan is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- It is implemented in a mission mode for improving the nutritional outcomes of children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- It aimed at reducing stunting, under-nutrition, and anaemia among young children, women, and adolescent girls, as well as reducing the low birth weight deliveries in a time-bound manner.
- POSHAN 2.0:
- In 2022, the Government of India approved the Integrated Nutrition Support Programme “Saksham Anganwadis and POSHAN 2.0” which seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children (till 6 years), adolescent girls (14-18 years), pregnant women and lactating mothers through a strategic shift in nutrition content and delivery of services.
- The Anganwadi Services of ICDS, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and POSHAN Abhiyan have been realigned under POSHAN 2.0 for maximizing nutritional outcomes.
- The objectives of Poshan 2.0 are as follows:
- To contribute to human capital development of the country;
- Address challenges of malnutrition;
- Promote nutrition awareness and good eating habits for sustainable health and wellbeing; and
- Address nutrition related deficiencies through key strategies.
- Under Poshan 2.0, anganwadis are being equipped with added services and better infrastructure (internet/Wi-Fi connectivity, LED screens, water purifiers, audio-visual/ smart learning aids, child-friendly learning equipment and art work).
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:
- Under PMMVY, registered women have been provided Rs 5000/- on the birth of their first child for wage support and nutritious food during pregnancy and post-delivery period.
- Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan:
- PMSMA under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare aims at providing assured, cost-free, comprehensive, and quality antenatal care to all pregnant women on the 9th day of every month and guarantees a minimum package of antenatal care services to women in their 2nd/3rd trimesters of pregnancy.
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram:
- JSSK, launched in 2011 aims to achieve 100% institutional delivery and elimination of out of pocket expenditure for both pregnant women and the sick neonates.
- Pregnant women are also entitled to free of cost facilities such as cashless-delivery/caesarean section, drugs/consumables, diagnostics, daily diet (during the stay), transport, etc.
- Although there are numerous well-planned initiatives undertaken for tackling malnutrition and ensuring adequate nutrition among women and children, the real challenge lies in their effective implementation; and to some extent, this can be overcome by regular monitoring, evaluation and innovative modifications of the schemes as per the need at the grassroots level.