BHUBANESWAR: The Planning Commission has rated highly the performance of the State Government in the implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in the Left-wing extremist (LWE)- affected districts.
A quick evaluation of major development programmes in 33 LWE-affected districts, including five from the State, by Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO) division of the Planning Commission revealed that the anganwadi centres (AWCs) have successfully created awareness among the people about the importance of child health.
This came to light at a State-level monitoring and review committee meeting presided over by Chief Secretary BK Patnaik here recently.
Deogarh, Gajpati, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Sambalpur districts were studied by the PEO.
Household data from Deogarh district showed that around 96 per cent of respondents were aware of operation of anganwadi centres and activities under NRHM in their villages. There was considerable improvement in immunisation and health care facilities after implementation of the ICDS and the NRHM operations, they said.
They further said there was significant reduction in child mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout rate. While anganwadi centres are providing cooked food to children and lactating mothers under supplementary nutrition programme, they said the scheme had enhanced the understanding of mothers to look after health and nutritional needs of their children.
The findings of another social audit by Voice for Child Rights, a federation of non-government organisations, is strikingly similar to the findings of the Plan Panel PEO.
Around 45 lakh beneficiaries have been enrolled at 71,134 AWCs, including 10,216 mini-AWCs, spread over 338 ICDS areas of the State. The expenditure on nutrition operation plan (NOP) was Rs 60 crore during last financial year and the meeting decided to utilise another Rs 167 crore within the next three years. The meeting further decided to strengthen NOP strategies by way of capacity building of SHGs, mothers’ committees, ‘janch’ committees, celebration of ‘annaprasanna divas’ and recipe demonstration.
The Chief Secretary advised the department concerned to evolve special strategy of effective communication with illiterate persons in backward areas. The committee has set a target to construct pucca buildings for all AWCs by end of the 12th Plan period. Decision has been taken to award the best performing AWC by way of additional incentive and facilities.