Project Vruddhi — A consortium of CARE and Action Against Hunger
Poshit Gujarat, Vikshit Gujarat
The project aims to improve the essential health and nutrition practices in the community by building knowledge, skills and motivation and creating an enabling environment in Bhavnagar and Sabarkantha, Gujarat. CARE India is undertaking this project in partnership with Action Against Hunger India. The overall goal of the Vruddhi project is to support the ‘Health and Family Welfare Department’ and ‘Women and Child Development Department’ of the Government of Gujarat to achieve accelerated progress towards nutrition outcomes identified under POSHAN Abhiyan.
Sabarkantha and Bhavnagar continue to perform below the Gujarat average in several key determinants of nutrition such as: the Timely Initiation of Breastfeeding (TIBF), Antenatal Care (ANC) coverage, consumption of Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplements, and children 6 – 23 months receiving an adequate diet. The coverage of health and nutrition interventions also remains poor. It is estimated that over a five-year period, the project will be able to address malnutrition by reaching 22,294 pregnant women; 60,093 mothers of children under 3 years and 120,186 children under 3 years of age.
There are many deep pockets of Gujarat that suffer with high rates of undernutrition, with over 38.5% of children under six years old estimated to be stunted and 9.5% severely wasted. Anemia among women is at 55% and almost 70% among adolescent girls, neither of which has decreased in the last 10 years.
Several integrated measures were undertaken by the Gujarat Government to prevent and overcome these challenges. While these have seen positive movement in coverage of all nutrition specific interventions, the deeper, secluded areas often
To reach these vulnerable areas effectively, CARE and Action Against Hunger (AAH) will support the Government of Gujarat, through the Gujarat Nutrition Program by increasing the demand for nutrition services in communities and supporting the government’s frontline workers and functionaries in providing quality health and nutrition services.
The program will work in depth in two high-burden districts of Gujarat – Bhavnagar, and Sabarkantha and further extend to the other adjoining districts. Over a five-year period, it is estimated that the project will reach about 550,000 children under 6 and 45,000 pregnant and 350,000 lactating women in the two districts.
20% of Madhya Pradesh’s population represent tribal communities. However, their incomes are dependent on agriculture and forest produce and the literacy rates are also low. Low yield and inconsistent income force the adults to look for paid labor and leave children to fend for themselves. Neglect and lack of diversity in diet has dramatically increased the prevalence of undernutrition in children.
National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, in its study found that the under-nutrition levels were as high as 33% for wasting, 54% for underweight, and 47% for stunting. Given the above figures, almost 50% of children under five within the district of Dhar are undernourished.
The Melghat region of Maharashtra exhibits vast forest land and tribal population where agriculture is naturally the source of income and food. In the summers, this area suffers from an acute water shortage. This pushes the residents to look for paid labor work in urban settlements. Due to inconsistent nutrition, water shortage, and lack of knowledge, children here suffer from malnutrition and have a higher risk of mortality.
NAOS and Action Against Hunger collaborated in December 2017, to work together towards improving the health indicators in the community In a block called Dharni. This integrated project brings together components of nutrition & health, Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), and Food Security & Livelihood (FSL).
Palghar is a district in Maharashtra and is divided into seven talukas, such as Vada, Vikramgad, Jawhar, Mokhada, Dahanu, Talasari, and Vasai-Virar. Predominantly inhabited by tribal populations, their source of livelihood comes from Agricultural practices. But the yield is restricted to the monsoon season and it predisposes them to migrate for jobs. In 2015, At the request of the Ministry of Health Maharashtra and UNICEF Maharashtra, Action Against Hunger conducted a cross sectional survey called SMART survey, which was conducted in Jawhar, Mokhada, and Vikramgad blocks of Palghar district to inspect the prevalence of undernutrition in children. The Jawhar and Mokhada survey highlighted startling figures with rates of stunting at 70.8 %, wasting at 40.4 %, and 9.1 % of children under the age of 5 being severely unhealthy. We initiated our emergency response work in 2016, starting from Mokhanda and later in Jawhar.
Mumbai’s vast slum areas inhabit thousands of children affected by poor access to water, lack of food and proper nutrition, health, and hygiene. Unfortunately, the early signs of malnutrition often go undetected. An analysis reveals that children under five dwelling in these areas face stunted growth in height and weight compared to healthy children of the same age. The difference is as high as 51%. We repeated this nutrition survey in the slums of Govandi in 2015 to assess the level of malnutrition. We found that one in every four children was severely affected. The wasting levels were as high as 22.9%. Poor maternal health, vulnerability to infections from exposure to the largest dump yard, and lack of knowledge on child feeding practices are the key factors contributing to the high rate of undernutrition among children in the slums of Mumbai.
Baran, a district in the southwest region of Rajasthan, India, consists largely of tribal population. Most of the tribal families here survive on small-scale farming, manual labour, or the sale of minor forest produce
While agriculture is rain dependent and therefore seasonal, manual labour and forest produce do not provide a fixed source of income either.
Some of the tribal communities, such as the Sahariya’s, tend to migrate as a community and thus suffer from nutrition and food insecurity. An acute lack of income and nutrition security owing to geographical and cultural reasons has resulted in children from these tribes falling victim to the vicious cycle of hunger.
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