New Delhi: Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA) is being implemented to improve breastfeeding coverage in the country, said Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar, in her written reply in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
MAA includes early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by age-appropriate complementary feeding practices through capacity building of frontline health workers and comprehensive IEC campaigns.
The Government of India implements the Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) strategy under the National Health Mission, which includes various activities to address the problem of anaemia and malnutrition among women and children across the country.
Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) are set up at public health facilities to provide in-patient medical and nutritional care to children under 5 years of age suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) with medical complications, said the minister.
In addition to curative care, special focus is given to timely, adequate, and appropriate feeding for children, the correction of micronutrient deficiencies, and improving the skills of mothers and caregivers on complete age-appropriate caring and feeding practices. and counselling support is provided to mothers for identifying nutrition and health problems in children.
Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) programme is implemented to reduce anaemia among six beneficiaries’ age groups – children (6-59 months), children (5-9 years), adolescents (10-19 years), pregnant and lactating women and women of reproductive age group.
Under National Deworming Day (NDD) albendazole tablets are administered in a single fixed-day approach via schools and Anganwadi centres in two rounds (February and August) to reduce the soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infestation among all children and adolescents (1-19 years).
Monthly Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Day (VHSND) is an outreach activity at Anganwadi centres for the provision of maternal and child care, including nutrition, in convergence with the ICDS.
The MCP Card and Safe Motherhood Booklet are distributed to pregnant women to educate them on diet, rest, danger signs of pregnancy, benefit schemes, and institutional deliveries.
As informed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the government implements various schemes to improve access to nutritious food, such as the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, which provides highly subsidised food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for coverage up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population, and under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), free food grains are provided to 81.35 crore beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana households and priority households for a period of five years with effect from January 1, 2024.
As informed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, under the Krishi Vigyan Kendra Scheme, 16681 nutri-gardens are established across 30310 farm families, and awareness activities are conducted on health and nutrition literacy.
As informed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, under Mission Poshan 2.0, the Supplementary Nutrition Program provides nutritional support to children less than 6 years of age, adolescent girls (14-18 years), pregnant women and lactating mothers as per nutrition norms under Schedule II of the NFSA Act 2013.
Also, the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) under the Ministry of Education provides one hot cooked meal in government and government-aided schools as per nutrition norms under Schedule II of the NFSA Act, 2013 to school-going children from Balvatikas (pre-school) to Class VIII.
The Government of India takes various measures to augment domestic availability and stabilise the prices of essential food commodities.