Celebrating International Children’s Day, 20 November

On this day in 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and it is every child’s right to have adequate and nutritious food.

In many dryland rural communities of India, child malnutrition levels are dire including some vulnerable communities in the Adilabad region at the border of Telangana and Maharashtra states. To combat this malnutrition, ICRISAT in collaboration with the Telangana government, has initiated a pilot nutrition intervention called ‘Nutri-Food Basket’. This consists of the distribution of ready-to-use supplementary food through community health worker networks to pregnant women, mothers and young children. The supplementary Nutri-Food recipes use diversified nutritious local staples like millets and pulses and have been tried and approved by the children and women. 

To assess the nutrition impact of this intervention, ICRISAT researchers have conducted a robust baseline survey including a set of health indicators (eg. weight, haemoglobin level and mid-upper arm circumference). A pioneering non-invasive haemoglobin measuring device is being used for the first time in India to monitor impact on anaemia during this study. Researchers are also using innovative mobile apps to monitor attendance and consumption. Results are expected in mid-2018. If shown to be successful, the intervention will be scaled up to other parts of the state and nationwide, in an effort to address malnutrition among vulnerable women and children.

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