From: mohanlal panda <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Weighing children without scale
Greetings from PVCHR.
Please refer to the following news link and the attached report: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110724/nation.htm#4
Weighing children without scales!
Doubts on veracity of data on children's growth, nutrition
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 23
Several anganwari centres (AWCs) across the country are perfecting the art of recording children's weight without even using a weighing scale while several others that have scales are entering wrong measurements into children's growth registers.
Nationally, over one-third of the 1,500 anganwaris surveyed in 2008 and 2009 didn't have functional weighing scales for babies; more than half (60 per cent) didn't have scales for adults - pregnant women and adolescent girls. The lowest availability was reported by the anganwaris of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Rajasthan.
The new evidence has brought under question the veracity of children's nutrition progress data being produced under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), with the Planning Commission's first major review of goal delivery under the scheme, stating, "Child growth and nutrition data being generated by the states and the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) doesn't represent the grassroots reality. This mismatch is a major source of leakage of resources under the ICDS."
The scheme has failed to effectively deliver services critical to reducing high infant, child and maternal mortality rates (IMR, CMR and MMR). These services are - regular weight monitoring of beneficiaries, provision of nutrition, health education (NHE) and immunisation to beneficiaries, encouraging mothers to seek medical help if their children fall sick and de-worming children aged 0 to 6 years.
Investigators interviewed beneficiaries from 19,500 households serviced by 300 ICDS projects in 1,500 AWCs across India and found that the scheme had some positive impact on normal children and those suffering moderate Grade-I malnutrition, but failed to improve the nutritional status of children with severe Grade II to IV malnutrition.
Provision of supplementary nutrition to beneficiaries remains poor - 16 days a month for 0 to 6 year olds; 12 days a month for pregnant women and six days a month for adolescent girls. Under the ICDS, food must be given 25 days a month. Even the WCD Ministry admits, "The states are not meeting nutrition norms." Assam gives supplementary nutrition for just two days a month and Uttarakhand for eight days.
Weighing of children at birth is critical to reduce the IMR, but nationally the impact of the ICDS is marginally negative on this front implying that it hasn't made progress in getting children weighed at birth. "The practice is significantly absent in the beneficiaries of Punjab, Himachal, West Bengal and Karnataka. Jharkhand is good," the report says. Overall, only 46.5 per cent children were weighed at birth and 43.2 per cent were subsequently weighed every month.
The report concludes, "Most services critical to attacking the IMR, CMR and MMR in both short and long runs have not been effectively delivered. Rather, services like pre-school education (PSE) that plays a subsidiary role have been better delivered. Service delivery for adolescent girls is the poorest."
Sir, this is a gross violation of child right. It reflects immense non seriousness in the part of the state in implementing programmes for child development and about the way it treats its future generation. On behalf of PVCHR, I request NHRC to take cognizance of the case and direct for necessary action.
Dr. Mohanlal Panda
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