The state government is planning to provide nutrition supplement to pregnant women for a month at one go instead of once in a week to ensure continuity in the food’s intake.
Officials said it was witnessed that in rural areas, pregnant women, many of them labourers, failed to turn up every week to collect the food, jeopardising their medical condition.
Pregnant women are given supplementary nutrition, also called take home ration (THR), under the integrated child development services (ICDS) programme at aganwadi centres once a week. THR is a dry mixture of wheat, gram and soya bean flour, sugar and edible oil.
Under a pilot project launched on October 5 in Banswara district, the woman and child department was providing four packets of THR to pregnant women for a month so that they need not visit centres four times, an official said.
“Pregnant women seldom visit aganwadi centres even though THR is given free of cost. We want to cut their visits to centre and give them four packets at one go for a month,” said ICDS director Suchi Sharma.
If the pilot is successful, the new system will be implemented across the state, she said.
Sharma said malnutrition in Banswara is a big problem. “One reason for this is women share the THR with their family when it is meant only for them,” Sharma said.
Sharma said the ICDS was also planning to involve NGOs to deploy nutritional advocate who will tell these women about the nutrition they require during pregnancy and while breastfeeding their child and efforts will be made to for behavioural change.
Apart from pregnant women, the ICDS also provide supplementary nutrition to children up to 3 years, lactating women and adolescent girls.
The pregnant woman, lactating mothers and adolescent girls get a pack of 950 grams and the children get 750 gm of the supplement every week.
Each 100 gram of nutritional supplement has powder of wheat (50gm), chana dal (5gm), soybean (11gm), sugar (29gm) and edible oil (5gm).
Rajasthan has 61,000 anganwari centres and Banswara has 1,979. Each anganwari centre has an anganwari worker and an anganwari helper.
There were 3.6 million beneficiaries between January 1 and December 31, 2016. During this period in Banswara, 41,309 pregnant women and lactating mothers, 3,241 adolescent girls, 26,351 boys and 26259 girls were benefitted.