Friday, April 17, 2015
The country boasts of 13.3 lakh Anganwadi and mini-Anganwadi centres that provide supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, immunisation and health check-ups for children belonging to economically-weaker sections. However, a recent Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) survey found a worrisome fact: 1 in 4 children in the Anganwadis were underweight and suffering from malnutrition.
In response to this report, the Women and Child Development Ministry’s Food and Nutrition Board has decided on various steps, the very first being revamping the 4 existing quality control labs to monitor the nutrition level of supplements given to these children. These labs will then randomly test the food to identify if the supplement is in accordance to the ICDS standards.
“There are four old laboratories in each metro which are non-functional. We will upgrade them depending on the amount of funds we are able to get from the government. The labs will conduct random tests on food and raw materials used by the Anganwadis to feed the children,” said a ministry official.
In addition to hoisting the defunct labs, the Ministry will launch 12 new state of the art labs in areas where undernutrition is predominant. The Ministry will also crack a whip on State administrations which have been slacking in terms of nutrition.
Finally, over 8 crore children from the disadvantaged sections of society enrolled in Anganwaadis can heave a sigh of relief since nutritional foods may soon be coming their way.
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