New Delhi: In September 2019, the Narendra Modi-led Union government’s flagship programme on nutrition, the Poshan Abhiyaan, celebrated the Rashtriya Poshan Maah to create awareness on nutrition issues by organising more than 2.17 crore home visits and 1.49 crore activities across all states in the country.
“The main focus during the month was on five sutras i.e., first 1,000 days of a child, diarrhoea prevention, paushtik aahaar (nutritious food), WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), and anaemia prevention,” said Smriti Irani, Union Minister of Women and Child Development in the Lok Sabha.
Irani was sharing details of the government’s flagship scheme on nutrition in a reply to a question asked by MPs Subash Ramrao Bhamre and Supriya Sule.
According to the minister, Poshan Maah “aimed at addressing malnutrition-related challenges and creating awareness on holistic nutrition through a people’s movement known as ‘Jan Andolan’ with a focus on children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.”
For this, the ministry organised visits to 2,17 crore homes, 13.41 lakh Poshan Melas, 8.48 lakh anaemia camps, 5.97 lakh meetings of self-help groups, 3.36 lakh community radio activities, 2.27 lakh farmer club meetings, and 1.22 lakh ‘nukkad natak’ (folk shows).
To gather participation in formal settings, as many as 5.47 lakh poshan workshops/seminars were also organised, while schools witnessed more than 10 lakh activities being organised around nutrition in the month. Community-based events were organised in excess of 19 lakh and more than 2.64 lakh haat bazaar activities were organised.
As far as performance of states are concerned, Gujarat organised the most number of activities at 95 lakh followed by Bihar at 60 lakh, Maharashtra at 55 lakh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh at 31 lakh during the 30 day.
Uttar Pradesh, which was declared the unhealthiest state by NITI Aayog in its state health index, organised 28 lakh awareness activities. The campaign received the most lukewarm response from West Bengal where only 18 such events were held and Odisha (6,244 programmes).
Irani said the goal of these activities was to reduce stunting in children by 6%, anaemia among young children by 9%, reduce low birth weight by 6% and anaemia among women and adolescent girls by 9% in three years beginning 2017-18.
The success of Poshan Maah, the minister added, can also be ascertained from the “more than 30 lakh impressions generated on Twitter and 8.60 lakh impressions on Facebook during the month.” State television network Doordarshan also contributed to the awareness campaign.