Joint Campaign by VRCO and CRY to Address Child Health and Malnutrition

Giving Children of Odisha a Healthy Start’, a six month-long initiative organised by VCRO and CRY, will reach out to children and mothers of 158 villages of five tribal districts in the state. A detailed report in Different Truths. 

Voice for Child Rights in Odisha (VCRO), in collaboration with CRY – Child Rights and You, a leading child rights organisation, launched a campaign, ‘Giving Children of Odisha a Healthy Start’, to address the issue of child health and malnutrition in five tribal districts of Odisha, according to a media release.

The release added that with almost 35% of the total under-5 child population in the state under-weight, and 45% children in the same age-group suffering from anaemia, Odisha is one of the states, which lag behind the national status of child health and malnutrition. The scenario is even worse in tribal districts of the state, as data suggest. Despite the recent decline in infant and child mortality (IMR and U5MR), the state still fares poorly in comparison to the national estimate. As NFHS 4 data reveals, 40 children (per 1000 live birth) still die within the first year of life, and 49 (per 1000 live birth) die before they reach 5 years of age.

Keeping this ground-reality in mind, the aim of the six-month long campaign will be to reduce the rate of child malnutrition below the National average, through increasing awareness and participation of the communities and concerned service providers at the village level, as stated by the organising NGOs.

The State Social Welfare Board and the Odisha Chapter of National Health Mission (NHM) welcomed the initiative by CRY and VCRO. They also expressed hope that this kind of awareness drives should be extended to the entire state, it was informed.

Litika Pradhan, Chairperson Social Welfare Board said, “It’s significant that the campaign aims at coordination and convergence of government and non-government bodies to ensure health and nutrition for children and mothers.” She also advocated for children’s crèches at the village level, so that working mothers in the rural areas can avail the opportunity to ensure nutrition and care for their children.

Dr. Prasant Saboth of NHM said, “Even though we have resources, changing the mindset of people is the biggest challenge. Health and hygiene are important components in reducing malnutrition, and this campaign will go a long way towards building mass awareness and ensuring best practices among the communities.”

The campaign will reach out to more than 5000 children and 3000 mothers in 158 villages in 10 blocks of five backward districts, namely Mayurbhanj, Bolangir, Bargarh, Kalahandi, and Koraput, as the grass-roots level NGOs partnering CRY and VCRO will be involved in collection of data from the respective intervention villages to assess the nutritional status of children in the age group of 0-5 years.

Explaining the plan and modality of the campaign Ashim Kumar Ghosh, Chief of CRY operations in Odisha said, “The campaign is divided into two components. While the first includes growth monitoring of 0-5 years children in the mentioned districts and advocate for the development of malnourished children with the support of state agencies and communities, the second aspect aims at advocacy towards enhanced Implementation of Policy, Scheme, legislation and services at the grass root level on health policy for the mothers and children below 5 years.”

Elaborating the approach of the action-intensive campaign, Bidyut Mohanty, Convenor of VCRO said, “It will work on both responsive and preventive ways, with all respective stakeholders bringing them at one platform to operate at the village levels.”

“On one hand the campaigners will identify critically malnourished children to refer them for further treatment and ensure that the communities are better prepared to prevent malnourishment, and on the other the service providers will be roped in to enhance the quality of services with certain non-negotiable mandate from the State,” Mohanty added, stated the media release.

The highlights of the campaign shall be:

Proposed Reach

  • of Children to be covered for Growth Monitoring and MUAC- 5000
  • of pregnant and lactating mothers to be covered- 3000
  • of ICDS centre to be covered- 134
  • of ICDS workers to be covered- 268
  • of Primary Schools to be covered- 90
  • of Children 6-14 covered under hand wash practices-8000
  • of Kitchen garden to be promoted- 60
  • of Nutritional food demonstration to be organised– 50
  • of School teachers to be covered- 100
  • of districts to be covered- 5
  • of Blocks to be covered- 10
  • of Panchayat to be covered- 50
  • of Village to be covered- 158
  • of Tribal community to be covered- 11 (Gadaba, Sathal, HO, Proja, Gond, Bhinjal, Saora, Kandha, Sabar, Bhatudi, Bhumija)
  • of NRC to be contacted-5
  • of VHND to be covered- 158

Proposed Activities

The proposed activities are to be carried out in 5 Districts (Balangir, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Mayurbhanj and Koraput) by 6 implementing partners (Adhar, Chale Chalo, PAP, Sadhana, Spread, Sikhasandhan) in 158 villages consisting of 134 ICDS and the target number of children will be 5000 in the age category of 0-5 years.

Orientation of VCRO team on malnourishment and sharing the methodology to prepare for the campaign

  • A meeting will be organized to share about campaign along with the deadlines and the process. VCRO along with CRY representative will prime move the campaign
  • Meetings with ICDS, VHND and NRC along with the community about the campaign on reducing malnourishment in the Districts.

Interface meetings with the stakeholders will be conducted at the village level and block level.

  • A written communication to all the Districts for support is to be drafted and sent through VCRO to the respective DC.
  • A door-to-door survey of children under the age of 0 to 5 years for identification of malnourished children.
  • Formats and stationary like growth chart, MUAC tape and other essentials need to be ready and handy before the survey begins.

Surveys are to be conducted at the ICDS centers for ownership of the ICDS and other health workers in the villages.

  • It is expected to welcome the other stakeholders based on the stakeholder analysis to get the support for further advocacy and demand from the State.
  • Photographs and other relevant documents will be collected to map the progress of the campaign

Data entry of all the collected data at the project level and submission for State compilation to VCRO

  • The collected data requires are to be entered in the computer for generating reports and analysis

Desk research on status of nutrition schemes in the State

  • Desk research is required for the comparative analysis with the State
  • Compilation and sharing by VCRO at the District level.
  • Generated report will be shared at the district level
  • Strengthening the ICDS, VHND and NRC to collaborate to reduce malnourishment.
  • A model building in the process of better functioning on collaborative functioning is also aimed at to showcase at the State level.

Providing the opportunity for their growth with help of ICDS and NRC

  • The positive stories of ICDS and NRC will be published in the media (print, electronic and social)
  • Supporting to organise VHND to carry out in a smooth way.
  • Workable models will be replicated to strengthen the VHN.

Hand wash practices with children in schools and ICDS centre

  • Campaign for hand wash practices among five thousand children through demonstration.

Promotion of Kitchen Garden at ICDS level

  • A culture of ‘know your food grow your food’ will be set with the support of mother’s committee.

Mapping the progress of development in children in the age group of 0-5 years

  • Tracking the growth of children will be done prior to the interface meetings with the State.

Networking with other stake holders at the State to build up advocacy strategies in the State

  • The campaign requires the support of the stakeholders to demand from the State. This will be one of the strategies to get like-minded stake holders to join the campaign.
  • Interface with the State machinery to strengthen monitoring mechanism and effective implementation of nutrition schemes in the districts.

©DTNS

Photos from the Internet.

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