Madhya Pradesh launched scheme to curb malnutrition


Bhopal : Faced with a mammoth task of tackling malnutrition among women and children in the state, whose incidence has gone up, Madhya Pradesh government has now launched a new project to tackle the problem.

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A project called ‘Shaktimaan’ was launched Friday by an actor who played the lead role in a television programme by the same name, in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Kesla in Hoshangabad district.

The project, initiated under the government’s ‘Bal Sanjeevani’ scheme, is supported by the UNICEF and aims to reduce malnutrition, mother-child mortality rate, and anaemia among girls, and to spread health awareness among children of poor and tribal households.

The percentage of malnourished children has increased by five percent in the state in the last eight years, the National Family Health Survey III has reported.

The percentage has increased from 54 percent in 1998 to 60.3 percent in 2006. Lack of nutritious food, health facilities and food insecurity has been the main causes, it said.

The report points out that only 14 percent children under the age of three years were breastfed within one hour of birth and 82.6 percent children between age six months-three years were anaemic. This age is considered most critical for mental and physical development. The condition was even more serious in tribal areas.

The nutritional allowance has been increased from Rs. 2 to Rs. 6 per child per day, which will be implemented in the 39 blocks of the total 19 tribal districts with high levels of undernourished children, as part of the scheme.

Children will be provided three meals per day for free, while health workers will counsel the mothers on feeding practices and care of children.

“The project is yet another milestone being added to the number of schemes and programmes initiated by the state government to check malnutrition among children and women,” said the chief minister.

“Steps have also been taken to bring about a positive change in the mind-set of people to end discrimination against girl child and every possible effort would be made to ensure that no child in the state remains malnourished,” he added.