New Delhi, Sept 18 (PTI) Anemia is still a challenge which needs attention, Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said Tuesday and stressed on the need for creating a people’s movement to ensure proper nutrition for every newborn in the country for their survival and healthy development. Also Read - Ajinkya Rahane on IPL After Dale Steyn's Comments - 'It Gave us Platform to Express'

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The Union Minister of State for Health asserted that with these initiatives, India will be address the burden of anemia and undernutrition among children in the country. Also Read - Over 54 School Students in Haryana's Karnal Test COVID Positive; School Building Declared Containment Zone

“With an average prevalence of 40 per cent across all age groups, anemia still is a challenge which needs attention,” he said while making an appeal to create a ‘Jan Andolan’ for nutrition and contribute to this hard work of ensuring survival and healthy development of the country’s every newborn.

He said this after inaugurating a two-day National Dissemination Workshop on ‘Anemia Mukt Bharat’ and Home-Based Young Child Care (HBYC). Member (Health) Niti Aayog Dr V K Paul was also present at the inaugural function.

The objective of the workshop is to orient the state programme managers for rolling out these interventions.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are here to witness the beginning of two significant programmes, the ‘Anemia Mukt Bharat’ and Home-based Young Child Care,” Choubey said.

“Both of these programmes are our commitment to the ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’ in improving the nutritional outcomes in this population,” he said.

On the occasion he also released a tool kit for ‘Anemia Mukt Bharat’ and Home-Based care for Young Child programmes.

Under ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’, and as part of ‘Anemia Mukt Bharat’, everything needed technically to address the country’s anemia burden is in place, Paul said, adding, “These interventions will make a difference. We have ingredients for all that can be done to make sure that no one is left behind.” He stressed that during increased contacts or home visits with ASHA workers, importance should be given to nutrition, including breastfeeding, how often a child should be fed (bringing in the concept of energy density) with optimum food, and information and awareness regarding early childhood development.

The ‘Anemia Mukt Bharat’ – intensified Iron-plus Initiative aims to strengthen the existing mechanisms and foster newer strategies for tackling anemia, focused on six target beneficiary groups, through six interventions and as many institutional mechanisms.

This is to achieve the target under the ‘Poshan Abhiyan, a Union Health Ministry statement said.

“The strategy focuses on testing and treatment of anemia in school-going adolescents and pregnant women using newer technologies, establishing institutional mechanisms for advanced research in anemia and a comprehensive communication strategy including mass or mid media communication material,” it said.

A web-portal, anemiamuktbharat.info, has also been developed as part of the monitoring mechanism of the strategy, which would provide survey data on anemia across beneficiary groups, target prevalence of anemia as per Poshan Abhiyan and quarterly HMIS based reporting of programme implementation coverage upto the district level.

The Home-Based Care of Young Child (HBYC) programme’s objective to reduce child mortality and morbidity by improving nutrition status, growth and early childhood development of young children through structured and focused home visits by ASHA workers with the support of Anganwadi workers. The programme is envisaged to be implemented as an extension to the existing HBNC programme and will be rolled out in a phased manner.

In the first phase (2018-19 financial year) the programme will be rolled out in all the identified aspirational districts.

In the second phase, all the remaining districts under Poshan Abhiyan will be included and in the third phase it will shall be expanded to cover all the districts in the country.

The participants of this workshop include senior officials from key ministries (health and family welfare, women and child development, human resource development, tribal affairs, rural development), state nodal officers for both the programmes, and representatives of various UN agencies and development partners.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.