- Malnutrition remains a persistent challenge in many parts of India, affecting the physical and cognitive development of children.
- To combat this issue, the state government of Madhya Pradesh launched the Mera Baccha Abhiyan initiative, a comprehensive program aimed at tackling malnutrition through active public participation.
- To reduce malnutrition among children in Madhya Pradesh.
- To improve maternal and child health outcomes.
- To promote exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
- To enhance public awareness and participation in addressing malnutrition.
- To strengthen the overall health and nutrition infrastructure in the state.
Key Features and Implementation Strategies
- Integrated Approach: The initiative adopts an integrated approach, combining various components such as healthcare, nutrition, and community engagement to address malnutrition comprehensively.
- Capacity Building: The program focuses on capacity building of healthcare providers, frontline workers, and community volunteers to ensure effective implementation of nutrition interventions at the grassroots level.
- Community Mobilization: It emphasizes community mobilization and participation. Local communities, including parents, community leaders, and self-help groups, are actively involved in planning, implementing, and monitoring the initiative.
- Behaviour Change Communication: The initiative uses targeted behaviour change communication strategies to educate and empower families and communities about the importance of proper nutrition, breastfeeding, hygiene, and sanitation practices.
- Nutritional Support: It provides nutritional support to pregnant women and lactating mothers through the provision of nutrient-rich supplements and locally available food items.
- Growth Monitoring and Referral Systems: The initiative establishes growth monitoring mechanisms to track the growth and development of children regularly. It also establishes effective referral systems to ensure timely access to appropriate healthcare services.
- Convergence with Existing Programs: It promotes convergence with existing government programs, such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), National Health Mission (NHM), and Public Distribution System (PDS), to maximize the impact and reach of nutrition interventions.
Impact and Outcomes
- Reduction in Malnutrition: A remarkable reduction of 17.5% in malnutrition rate has been achieved in NFHS-V data. As a result, current malnutrition rate stands at 4.99%, which is very low in comparison to the State average.
- Reduction in Stunting, Wasting, and Underweight Rates: Datia district has not only reduced stunting and wasting cases but has also seen improvement in other parameters such as increment in rate of immunization from 53.2% (NFHS-IV) to 79.6% (NFHS-V), reduction in diarrhoea from 12.9% (NFHS-IV) to 5.7% (NFHS-V), increase in breast feeding from 32% to 56.4% (as per recent NFHS-V data). In fact, Datia has achieved 100% breast feeding through Mera Baccha Abhiyan.
- Increased Awareness and Behaviour Change: The initiative’s behaviour change communication campaigns have led to increased awareness among families and communities regarding nutrition, breastfeeding, and hygiene practices.
- Strengthened Health and Nutrition Infrastructure: The initiative has supported the training of healthcare providers, improved service delivery, and established robust monitoring and evaluation systems.
- Mera Baccha Abhiyan has emerged as a pioneering initiative in Madhya Pradesh, demonstrating the potential of public participation in addressing malnutrition.
- By adopting an integrated approach and leveraging community involvement, the initiative has made significant progress in reducing malnutrition rates and improving maternal and child health outcomes.
- The success of Mera Baccha Abhiyan highlights the importance of sustained efforts, community mobilization, and multi-sectoral collaboration in combating malnutrition effectively.