Every individual, when brought into this world from the mother’s womb needs utmost care and nutrition for a healthy and steady development of body and mind. This nutrition is needed from the mother’s end too. The birth of a baby is a glorious event in the life of the baby and the parents. However, pregnancy and birth are difficult processes for both the mother and baby. Mother & baby need special care before, during and after the event of birth.
The Ministry of Women and Child development, Government of India, launched a scheme called, POSHAN Abhiyaan, which is popularly known as PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment. The state of Assam, one of those Seven Sister states, is striving continuously to excel in this Abhiyaan.
POSHAN Abhiyaan is India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers by leveraging technology – a targeted approach and convergence. From the year 2018, Poshan Maah is being organized in Assam by Social Welfare Department in convergence with some other departments. POSHAN Maah 2019 was ceremonially launch by Governor Jagdish Mukhi on September 4. The tagline of POSHAN Maah 2019 was “Har ghar Poshan Vyavahar” (to encourage good practices) which aims at reaching every household with the message of ‘Proper Nutrition’.
The Poshan clubs of Assam, created at each school and primary health care centres, looks after a range of activities. The themes for Poshan Maah 2019 included, first thousand days of a child’s life, Anaemia, Diarrhoea, hand wash and sanitation and lastly Poshtik Ahaar (nutritious food). Speaking about the Poshan clubs in Assam, Suprava Ray, Assistant Commissioner of Goalpara mentions, “Started in 2019 Poshan Clubs are still active in every school, though it has witnessed ups and downs largely because of the ongoing pandemic situation. Students from class VI to class X actively participate in these Poshan clubs to create awareness in and around the places where they live and also in surrounding areas of their schools.
Poshan Abhiyaan is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to achieve the goal of malnutrition-free India by 2022. The objective of this Abhiyaan is to reduce stunting in the identified districts of India with the highest malnutrition burden. Its aim is to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
Mentioning about the spread of mass awareness among the women, especially the mothers with newborn babies, Ray adds, “Through a medium of various activities mass awareness is spread comprehensively. I believe that with continuous monitoring on nutritious intake, recycling activities, self defence and yoga sessions along the Jan Andolan guidelines for POSHAN Abhiyaan, attainment of the desired goal will surely be possible.”
The pillars of this mission include ICDS-CAS (Common Application system), Convergence, Behavioural change, IEC Advocacy, training and capacity building, innovations, incentives and also grievance redressal. It is heartening to see that a small state like Assam is taking praiseworthy steps towards promoting an all-round development in the women and mother’s health care system to witness a healthier future ahead.