Saturday, September 14, 2019

Celebration of 'Rashtriya POSHAN Maah' begins Isles ; LG asks Social Welfare Deptt. to make best efforts towards complete elimination of malnutrition from Isles

Port Blair, Sept 04: The entire month of September will be celebrated as the 'Rashtriya POSHAN Maah'. The Prime Minister's Overreaching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment - POSHAN Abhiyaan is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to address malnutrition with a targeted approach by 2022. In the A&N Islands, the Department of Social Welfare, A&N Administration, in association with line departments is celebrating 'Rashtriya POSHAN Maah' under Poshan Abhiyan during the month of September 2019, focusing to enhance the coverage of beneficiaries through awareness campaigns and innovative initiatives such as 'POSHAN Bhagidari' and promoting 'POSHAN Par Charcha'.
The Lt. Governor, A&N Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd), launched the 'Rashtriya POSHAN Maah' celebration in the Islands during a function held in the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Auditorium here this morning. 
Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor said, the National figure which shows that 38 percent of our children come under stunting and wasting is a matter of great concern which will adversely affect their physical and mental growth and their studies as well. However, the percentage of children under this category is less in A&N Islands when compared to the national average.
The Lt. Governor said, malnutrition is not related to shortage of money alone as both the urban and rural people are affected by it. A balanced diet is the only answer to reduce malnutrition which is possible only through creating rigorous awareness programmes and better monitoring system of the children under the Poshan Abhiyan Scheme of the Govt. of India, said the Lt Governor.
Pointing that the status of A&N Islands is better when compared to the national average, the Lt Governor asked the Social Welfare Department not to limit itself to just a month long programme but make it a continuous effort till malnutrition is completely eliminated from the across the Islands. He further directed the Department to ensure that no child is left to be covered under this scheme in the entire A&N Islands. "Awareness about malnutrition has to be created at every level in the entire UT, involving the Gram Panchayat and Zila Parishad Members for better results towards achieving the goal of malnutrition free villages and Isles, as the PRI members public representatives are better connected to the masses" he said.  
The Lt. Governor also said that there is no dearth of funds under the Poshan Abhiyan scheme. Apart from the Central funding, the UT Administration has provided funds for the additional supply of milk to the Anganwadi Children. The only thing needed to achieve the goal is to increase the reach, sensitization and proper education, the Lt. Governor added. He urged the PRIs to shoulder their responsibilities alongwith the A&N Administration so that benefits of this scheme reach every child.
The Lt. Governor also felicitated best field level ICDS functionaries Smt. Kamlesh Kumari, Sreeni Kumari, Minoti Biswas and Ms. K. Balmati. Best couple and best mother-in-law awards were also presented.
In his address, the Member of Parliament, Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, while appreciating the Department of Social Welfare for bringing down the percentage of malnutrition in the Isles to some extent, urged for meeting the basic objective of the Poshan Abhiyan Scheme rolled out by the Central Government i.e providing better health care to women and child and curbing malnutrition by 2022.
The MP urged for covering more children under this scheme by opening more Anganwadi Centres in pockets of North & Middle Andaman and Nicobar Group of Islands so that the children of that area get the benefits of Anganwadi Centres. He further stated that Poshan Abhiyan scheme should not confined to AWCs only and it should be made a mass movement by taking the awareness in every household and by involving every concern so that they will reap the benefit of the scheme in the long run.
The MP also urged the Administration for incorporating natural foods such as coconut, fish and locally grown fruits of these Islands apart from the routine foods earmarked for the Anganwadi Children. He said these foods are in abundance in every nook & corner of these Islands, which will not only increase the nutritional status among the children but will also increase the economy of the farmers of these Islands once we start purchasing from them.
Referring to the 'Beti Padhao & Beti Bachao' scheme, the MP said, in A&N Islands, the girl students are being provided better education to lead a dignified life. He urged for moving one step further from the basic parameters of the scheme to provide quality education to the girl students on an upper scale so that they become engineers, doctors, lawyers and IAS officers and A&N becomes a role model and torchbearer for others states.
The function was also attended by the Principal Secretary Finance, Shri Vikram Dev Dutt, the Adhayksh ZPSA, Shri Sanjib Kumar Mandal, the Chairperson, PBMC, Smt. Anusia Devi, the Chairperson, A&N SSWB, Smt. Poonam Arora and a large gathering of Anganwadi Workers, Women Self Help Group Members and general public.
In her address, the Secretary, Social Welfare, Smt. Geetika Sharma informed that as per NFHS-4 Data (2015-2016), the rate of stunting and wasting in A&N Islands is 23.30% and 18.90% respectively. As per survey by the Department in June 2019, the rate of stunting and wasting is 21.49% and 11.61%. The Data bank of malnourished children has been created for individual tracking, she added.
The aim of POSHAN Abhiyaan is to reduce malnutrition among children upto 6 years, pregnant women & lactating mothers by 2022 through awareness, convergence and monitoring. The Social Welfare Department has initiated convergence programmes with line Departments. 720 Smart Phones have been distributed amongst Anganwadi Workers for uploading daily activities, reports and online monitoring and to facilitate growth monitoring. Devices like 720 Stadiometer, Infantometer, Weighing Scale (Mother & child and Infant) have also been provided to Anganwadi Centres. The Supplementary Nutrition Programme has been strengthened with additional supply of milk. To make the Poshan Abhiyan a complete success the Anganwadi Centres will be further strengthened and 92 more Centres will be opened.
Food fortification of salt and oil is being initiated, kitchen garden will be developed in selected Anganwadi Centres and individual tracking of children in AWCs & Pre-Primary schools have been planned, the Secretary informed. 
A fancy dress show in which the tiny tots of the anganwadi centres dressed as nutritious fruits & vegetables approaching the stage and the way they described its benefits, was enjoyed by all. 
The function concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by the Director Social Welfare, Shri Shailendra Kumar Singh.

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