National dissemination workshop on anemia free India held in Delhi

The Anemia Mukt Bharat- intensified Iron-plus Initiative aims to strengthen the existing mechanisms and foster newer strategies for tackling anemia, focused on six target beneficiary groups


New Delhi: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the two-day National Dissemination Workshop on Anemia Mukt Bharat and Home-Based Young Child Care (HBYC). Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was also present at the inaugural function. The objective of this workshop is to orient the state program managers for rolling out these interventions.

Speaking at the function, Mr Choubey stated that two significant programmes, the Anemia Mukt Bharat and Home-based Young Child Care are a commitment to the ‘PoshanAbhiyaan’ in improving the nutritional outcomes in this population.

Highlighting the achievements of the Health Ministry, Mr Choubey said that India has taken huge strides in reducing Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and achieving MDGs and with these initiatives we will be addressing the burden of anemia and under-nutrition among children in the country. “With an average prevalence of 40 percent across all age groups, anemia still is a challenge which needs attention,” he said. Mr Choubey appealed to create a ‘Jan Andolan’ for nutrition and contribute to this hard-work of ensuring survival and healthy development of every new-born of future India.

The toolkit for Anemia Mukt Bharat and Home-Based care for Young Child programmes were released on the occasion.

Addressing the participants, Dr V K Paul said that under Poshan Abhiyaan, and as part of Anemia Mukt Bharat, we have everything that technically should be there to address Anemia in the country. “These interventions will make a difference. We have ingredients for all that can be done to make sure that no one is left behind,” Dr Paul added.  He further stressed that during the increased contacts/home visitswith the ASHAs, importance should be given to nutrition, including breast feeding, how often a child should be fed (bringing in the concept of energy density) with optimum food, and information and awareness regarding early childhood development.

The Anemia Mukt Bharat- intensified Iron-plus Initiative aims to strengthen the existing mechanisms and foster newer strategies for tackling anemia, focused on six target beneficiary groups, through six interventions and six institutional mechanisms; to achieve the envisaged target under the POSHAN Abhiyan.

The strategy focuses on testing & treatment of anemia in school going adolescents & pregnant women using newer technologies, establishing institutional mechanisms for advanced research in anemia, and a comprehensive communication strategy including mass/mid media communication material. A web-portal has also been developed as part of the monitoring mechanism of the strategy, which would provide survey data on anemia across beneficiary groups, target prevalence of anemia as per POSHAN Abhiyan and quarterly HMIS based reporting of programme implementation coverage upto the district level.

The Home-Based Care of Young Child (HBYC) programme has an objective to reduce child mortality and morbidity by improving nutrition status, growth and early childhood development of young children through structured and focused home visits by ASHAs with the support of Anganwadi workers (AWWs).

The programme is envisaged to be implemented as an extension to the existing HBNC programme and will be rolled out in a phased manner. In the first phase (F.Y 2018-19) the programme will be rolled out in all the identified Aspirational Districts. In the second phase, all the remaining districts under Poshan Abhiyan will be included and in the third phase programme this shall be expanded to cover all the districts in the country. Under the HBYC programme, five additional home visits (in every three months) by ASHAs are proposed after the last visit on 42nd day, as in the existing HBNC programme. Thus, the contact of new-born with the health system is extended till 2nd year of birth.

ASHA will ensure exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of life, adequate complementary feeding after 6 months, Iron and Folic Acid supplementation, full immunization of children, regular growth monitoring, appropriate use of ORS, appropriate hand washing practices and age appropriate playing and communication for children during each home visit.

Dedicated skill building, additional incentives, provision of additional commodities and additional home visits for SNCU discharged & sick-newborns are also included in the programme.