INDIA: After the first successful year of Dettol BSI – Nutrition India Programme, the community witnessed a 7.4% reduction in the proportion of severely acute malnourished children across the districts of Amravati & Nandurbar in Maharashtra. Within the first 10 months, the programme was able to save the lives of 6,500 children between the years of 1-5 with the help of 41 community nutrition workers. An independent evaluation by sustainable Square also found that every INR 1 invested in the BSI Nutrition India Programme delivers a social value of INR 36.90.
The five-year program was developed to support in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, utilizing digital and artificial intelligence-based innovative modules, to strengthen the health, hygiene and nutrition status of pregnant women and children in Maharashtra’s Amravati and Nandurbar.
Commenting on the partnership initiative, Gaurav Jain, Senior Vice President, South Asia, Reckitt Benckiser Health, “Proper nutrition & sanitation are the catalyst to social change and one of the most critical aspects to empower young children and mothers. Given the alarming number of malnourishment cases witnessed in states like Maharashtra, districts of Amravati and Nandurbar became the starting ground for the Nutrition India Programme in partnership with Plan India. The five-year program is aimed at strengthening the health, hygiene, and nutrition status of pregnant women and children across impacted communities.”
Acknowledging this support Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan India, said, “Nutrition India program has shown the light on the imperative of collaborative actions by governments, corporates and civil society to successfully tackle the challenge of malnutrition and undernourishment in rural communities. The learnings and outcomes from this program should be widely disseminated so that other development actors are able to replicate. Also, this initiative by Reckitt Benckiser and its partners is contributing to the larger national efforts to mitigate the public health challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are thankful to RB for the partnership and for ensuring timely access to life-saving and preventive measures to ramp up nutrition and public health outcomes in underserved communities.” He added.
In the past one year, Nutrition India Programme has worked with local communities and developed a workforce of traveling nutrition champions who are known as ‘Community Nutrition Workers (CNWs)’. These workers are given rigorous training by public health experts, pediatricians, gynecologists, and community development specialists, and are educated about the golden rules of good nutrition.
The ongoing program is focusing on maternal and child health. Everything related to it is being taught to these community nutrition workers, such as–what precautions are to be taken by expecting mothers, what should be their diet, lessons on breastfeeding, the importance of breastfeeding within the initial hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the newborn, and the diet which should be given to a child so that he/she is saved from the ill effects of malnutrition.
Over the next four years, the program aims to reach 1,77,000 mothers of undernourished children across 1,000 villages with a target of 40% reduction in the number of children under five who are stunted, and to reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.
Plan India’s on-ground expertise is helping reach communities properly through a systematized process. The partner organization is also supported by providing nutrition workers with simple interactive tools that deliver clear and effective messaging around nutrition and hygiene to create behavioral changes in society. For more information on Plan India, login to www.planindia.org
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