Project Sampoorna’s success in reducing malnutrition in children is an example that can be applied anywhere.

‘Food should be your medicine and medicine should be your food’. These words are often attributed to Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, and give a brief overview of Project Sampoorna that was considered and implemented successfully in the Bongaigaon state of Assam.

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This work has helped to reduce malnutrition in children by spending less money. Sampoorna is in line with the goals of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and those set by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the Food Systems Regional Conference (September 2021) including the need for food security systems and human security that contribute to food security and safety. . Prime Minister Narendra Modi also recognized health and nutrition as important areas and reiterated the importance of ‘Kuposhan mukt Bharat’ (India’s disruption) as he launched the Prime Minister for Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN Abhiyaan) (National Nutrition Mission) Program in 2017. -18.

It was during Poshan Maah (Food Month) in September 2020 that 2,416 children were diagnosed with malnutrition in the Brahmaputra region of Bongaigaon. The National Family Health Survey (NHFS) -5) reports that the number of children under the age of five who are disabled, lost, underweight and the number of women and children with anemia in the region is higher than the national average. whole – anemia in the body being a major factor. maternal and child health.

This was confirmed by Project Saubhagya which was designed to reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality in the state. The real-time schedule is adjusted by field doctors who have a high-risk pregnancy, which is followed until safe births. This work has produced encouraging results; Maternal mortality for six months (April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 compared to April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021) has dropped from 16 to 3 and infant mortality from 130 to 63.

Struggling with baby food

A major cause of high-risk pregnancy is anemia that is often unhealthy. The malnutrition of a malnourished child grows into an unhealthy teenager, and then continues to be a bloodless pregnant girl who gives birth to a lean baby; this infant is then faced with a possible delay in growth, but growing into a deficient child; and this child who suffers the most from malnutrition and inadequate care when the world around him lacks basic necessities is the one who absorbs all the health benefits possible.

This shows the worst of the worst, but the truth is more strange than the fable. To get out of this bad weather, the lowest fruit had to go straight for it – baby food.

Malnutrition, parents

Bongaigaon has 1,116 Anganwadi with 63,041 children and less than five. The massive performance of weight and height in the World Health Organization’s growth charts revealed the number of 2,416 malnourished children; 246 cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 2,170 cases of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).

District Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers, or NRCs, usually have 20 beds; and a monthly diet for 200 SAM children is not helpful. In addition, parents of children who are allowed to receive their daily wage (which is paid less by the Government) and leave their farms for 10 days. A child of treatment may also return to SAM state after discharge and if they have not been cared for.

We needed to make something new now. Based on the success of the COVID-19 management project (Project Mili July), we launched Project Sampoorna aimed at SAM / MAM children’s mothers, a tag that is ‘Empowered Mothers, Healthy Babies’. In addition, we have also identified the mother of a well-to-do Anganwadi Center (AWC) child with a loving mother; will be ‘Buddy Mother’ (2,416 pairs). They were often close neighbors and shared the same economic status. The couple was given meal charts depicting their children’s daily diet; will have a discussion of this every Tuesday at the AWC. Local practices related to nutrition are also discussed.

A major obstacle to this work was male leadership. Women had to be empowered financially to achieve the best results. Therefore, they were enrolled in the Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM). By the end of the three months, 74.3 percent of women had registered SHGs; at the end of six months, enrollment rose to 75.6% and by the end of the year, it was 90%. During this time, we planned to distribute 100 milliliters of milk and egg daily for all 2,416 children in the first three months, giving their mother time to settle down in the newly acquired jobs. The great-hearted people of Bongaigaon adopted the Anganwadis and filled their small intestines with essential proteins and their hearts with love.

Sea change

After three months of Project Sampoorna, of the 246 SAM children, 27 (11%) remained SAM, 28 (11.4%) progressed to MAM and 189 (76.8%) improved. Of the 2,170 children of MAM, 12 (0.6%) entered SAM, 132 (6.08%) remained MAM and 2,015 (92.8%) untreated became normal. Good things were coming. The milk and eggs were stopped after three months but we continued to follow up to see how our Buddy Mothers Model and Women Empowerment Model work. Mother had done what organizations could not do for many years. As of March 2021, 84.96% of SAM children and 97.3% of MAM were normal; and as of September 2021, 92.3% SAM and 98.9% MAM children were normal. Project Sampoorna stood for a long time. Children who did not do well were monitored and treated by doctors under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK). UNICEF, IIT Guwahati, Tezpur University and the Social Welfare Department assisted in improving education from time to time.

Project Sampoorna has prevented at least 1,200 children from developing malnutrition in the last year. The National Nutrition Mission and the Government have recognized our project in the ‘Innovation Category’. Assam’s chief of staff, Himanta Biswa Sharma, has written an encouraging message on a project report that will be released soon. This model can be easily implemented anywhere in the world. We believe that children everywhere have the right to enjoy good health, and we hope that the practice will soon end.

Dr. MS Lakshmi Priya, District Coordinator, Bongaigaon Province, Assam, and a physician who turned the IAS officer (2014 batch), from Kerala. Suggestions provided by personal. Email: drlakshmipriya1@gmail.com


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