BeyondHeadlines News Desk
RANCHI, Jharkhand : The Jharkhand government today launched a programme to make the state ‘Kuposhan Mukht’ (malnutrition free). The programme titled ‘Jeevan Asha’ will cover all malnourished children below 5 years in all 40,000 villages and tolas in the state.
The Governor launched the programme from the Raj Bhawan unveiling the logo of the campaign. Speaking at the launch, Dr. Syed Ahmad, Governor of Jharkhand said, “Jeevan Asha is a unique programme to address malnutrition in the state. Children’s health and nutrition is the first priority for any progressive state. Let us take a pledge to ensure no child in Jharkhand is a victim of malnutrition. Jeevan Asha programme is the first step in this direction.”
Mridula Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Women & Child development said, “Jeevan Asha programme is the first initiative in the country to address SAM at community level across the state. The major components of the programme are: identification of severe acute malnourished children based on household survey, training of anganwadi workers, sahiyas, ANMs and PRI members, provision of therapeutic food and management of enrolled children at village level. It envisages provision of incentives (conditional cash transfer) for mothers for providing special food to SAM children, promotion of breastfeeding practices (breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life, etc), state wide comprehensive nutrition survey, media fellowship, and setting up of nutrition resource centre to generate evidence to strengthen the programme. The programme focuses on prevention as well as treatment of malnourished children in the state. Jeevan Asha is a multi-sectoral convergence programme of the Departments of Health & Family Welfare, Social Welfare, Women & Child Development and Panchayati Raj, with the technical support of UNICEF.”
Evidence suggests that malnutrition is the root cause of 35% of child deaths (Lancet, 2008). As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3, 2005-06) in Jharkhand, about 54.6% children under 3 years are under-weight and about 12% of the children are severe acute malnourished..
Shri Madhukar Gupta, Advisor to the Governor of Jharkhand said “It is a matter of shame that in this day and age malnutrition rate in Jharkhand is so high. The rate of malnutrition among children in the state is twice the national average. The government is committed from the top to the field level. I hope the experience by experts from other states and eminent researchers today will help in the successful implementation of this programmed. He said that convergence and integration between health, social welfare (ICDS), panchayati raj and education department is imperative for the successful implementation of this programme.
Shri S. K Chaudhary, Chief Secretary, Jharkhand said, “Malnutrition is more prevalent in rural areas. There is no shortage of ideas in Jharkhand to address malnutrition. We have a strategy and roadmap to fight malnutrition with an integrated approach for treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition at facility and at community level. The effective implementation of this strategy and translating these ideas into action at field level is a challenge. We aim to build capacities of and motivate our army of doctors at the health centres, functionaries in the rural health mission, ICDS, health, anganwadi centres and community to implement the programme at the village and district level through effective convergence between social welfare, NRHM, panchayati raj syatem and implementing partners.”
MD NRHM Shri Aboobacker Siddique, Job Zachariah (Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand), Vandana Krishna, Director General, Nutrition Mission, Maharashtra, Mr. Manohar Adnani, Commissioner WCD, Madhya Pradesh, Dr. K Sahu, Director, Social Welfare, Mr. Meena, Commissioner, Chotanagpur, Shri. Tulsi Mahato, Director RIMS, Shri Karanveer Singh, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Smt Deepika Sharma, Nutrition specialist, UNICEF, national experts and eminent researchers attended the function among others.