Arogya Lakshmi Scheme (Pathakam) Details:
Telangana is one of the few states where a separate Department is functioning for development and welfare of women and children. In many states, these come under the Social Welfare Department. The broad mandate of the Department is to have holistic development of Women and Children.
For the holistic development of the child, the Department has been implementing the world’s largest and most unique and outreach programme of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) providing a package of services comprising supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check up and referral services, pre-school non-formal education. There are 35,700 Anganwadi Centers functioning in the State in 149 ICDS Projects. (31,711 Main Centers and 3989 Mini Centers).
(“One Full Meal” For Pregnant and Lactating Women At The Anganwadi Centre)
An implementation of ICDS has resulted in improvement of the nutritional status of women and children in the state, the desired goals have not been achieved. The percentage of low birth weight babies, underweight children (<3 years) and pregnant women who are anaemic is still high.
As a result, reduction of infant Mortality Rate(IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) continues to be a challenge.
Scientific evidence shows that malnutrition starts early in life and its effects become irreversible after 2-3 years. Meeting the nutritional needs of Pregnant & Lactating women is therefore one of the critical windows of opportunity available to prevent malnutrition.
Hence a need was felt to modify the nutrition programme of ICD Especially as the Take Home Ration (THR) provided to Pregnant and Lactating women under ICDS is not only too meagre but also gets shared by all members of the family.
In this regard, the State Government introduced ArogyaLaxmi Programme which involves spot feeding of “one full meal” for Pregnant and Lactating women at the Anganwadi centre along with administration of Iron & Folic Acid (IFA) tablet. The programme was started on 01.01.2013 in ICDS Projects with most adverse health and nutrition indicators.
After state bifurcation 2015 onwards it was scaled up in 149 ICDS (100 %). ICDS Projects. Projects covering 31,897 Main AWCs and 4,076 Mini Anganwadi Centers in Telangana State. The one full meal consists of Rice, Dal with leafy Vegetables/sambar, vegetables for a minimum of 25 days, boiled Egg and 200ml. milk for 30 days in a month. The one full meal will meet 40-45% of the daily calorie and 40-45% of protein and calcium requirement per day of the pregnant and lactating mothers. Along with the meal, Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablet is to be administered. For children between 7 months to 3 years are providing 16 Eggs per month where as children from 3-6 years were providing 30 Eggs per month.
Objectives of “Arogya Laxmi programme”
Enhance the quality and acceptability of supplementary nutrition by the Pregnant and Lactating women
Ensure food supplied is consumed by only the Pregnant and Lactating womenratherthanthe wholefamily
Ensure that Pregnant and Lactating women consume 90+ IFAtablets.
Improve the enrollment of mothers at AnganwadiCenters (AWCs).
Eliminate or decrease number of Pregnant and Lactating women with anaemia/ who are undernourished.
Reduce the incidence of low birth babies and malnutrition among children.
Ensurethat Pregnant and Lactating women receive health check ups and immunization.
Reduce the incidenceof infant mortality andmaternal mortality.
Operational guidelines for Arogya Laxmiprogramme
Government after careful examination hereby issue “Operational Guidelines” for One Full Meal Programme for improving nutritional status among Pregnant and Lactating Women and to reduce low birth weight and mortality of infants and children under 6 years.
One Full Meal Committee
Eleven members Committee called the “Anganwadi Level Monitoring & Support Committee” (ALMSC) shall be constituted for each AWC.
Responsibilities of Committee:
• The committee shall meet once in a month on the first Nutrition Health Day (i.e., the first of every month) and create awareness on One Full Meal Programme.
• Ensure correct demand and supply of food grains such as Rice, Dal, Oil, Eggs, Milk and Vegetables etc. to the AWCs.
• Identify Milk vendors or chilling centers where central procurement is not available.
• Mobilize all eligible beneficiaries to the AWC.
• Ensure no beneficiary carries the meal home or allows it to be consumed by any other family member.
• Fix the menu and timing of the spot feeding
• Ensure the attendance, quality, hygiene and other aspects of the programme
• Certify the attendance registers of Anganwadi Centers for accounts reconciliation.
Credits: The Hans India.