The International Children’s Organization (UNICEF) in a recent review report has hailed the performance of government of Telangana in improving the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating mothers in the state.
With an aim to improve the health conditions of pregnant women and lactating mothers in the state, way back in 2015, the state government had launched a scheme called Arogya Lakshmi. The main objective of this scheme is to build an efficient and cost effective platform to deliver amalgamated nutrition and non-nutritional interventions as outlined in the World health organization (WHO) guidelines for a positive pregnancy out come. Also the other most important objective of the scheme is to help identify high-risk pregnancies and facilitate priority referral to the next level of healthcare.
While reviewing the performance of different states in India with regard to nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women, the representatives of UNICEF in its report reviewed the nutritional performance of Telangana since 2015-2017 and said that the State has exhibited outstanding results in improving the nutritional status. The report further claimed beneficiaries who are covered under Arogya Lakshmi scheme to avail nutritional food have expressed their satisfaction as the meals provided to them through Anganwadi centres is beneficial and adequate in quality and taste.
The UNICEF report has revealed during a two day consultation meeting on maternal nutrition in Hyderabad. “The Arogya lakshmi scheme initiated by the government of Telangana has brought in great improvement in the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating mothers in the state. Particularly it has been effective in spreading the awareness among the rural folks about nutritional importance through family members and self help groups, who have played a major role in motivating the mothers to enroll themselves in the scheme,” said Vani Sethi, Nutritional Specialists of UNICEF, India.
However, UNICEF report suggested that the non-food component was functioning poorly at ground level and urgent efforts were necessary to ensure efficient convergence with the health system and functionaries.
“In fact nutrition is the basic right and critical to the development. For improving nutrition among the pregnant women and lactating mother, the state government had laid concrete policy initiatives to improve nutritional status in the state. For this the state government is spending Rs.850 crore every year,” said S P Singh, Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana.
For improving nutrition among the pregnant women and lactating mothers the state government had launched one full meal initiative as part of Arogya Lakshmi scheme and has taken the nutrition improvement drive to every doorstep across the state.