UP may go for Maharashtra model for nutrition mission

With the cases of malnutrition among children high in Uttar Pradesh, the state government is considering to launch a State Nutrition Mission. For this a four-member team of experts from UP will be visiting Maharashtra beginning Monday to study the model of nutrition mission being implemented there. Maharashtra is one of the first states to launch such a mission.

"The visiting team will comprise four representatives each from NRHM, Unicef, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as well as state health institute. They will be touring Maharashtra for three days and learn about the way the mission is being implemented there," said a senior health official who is closely working on preparing the draft of the mission.

The idea behind such a mission, the official said, is to bring together various government departments already working for the eradication of malnourishment under one umbrella. At present, Health Department works on preventing anaemic mothers giving birth to underweight babies, ICDS Department is involved in distribution of nutrition meals and monitors malnourishment in children through its anganwadi centres in association with Rural Development Department.

"Maharashtra and Gujarat, where the mission is already being implemented, have an autonomous body for the mission with the chief minister as the head of its steering committee. It is possible that Uttar Pradesh might follow a similar model," the official added.

Last month, a delegation from Citizen's Alliance Against Malnutrition, which included MPs and health activists, including SP MP from Kannauj, Dimple Yadav, met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and urged him to initiate a mission aiming at tackling child malnourishment in the state.

On the CM's instruction, principal secretaries of Department of Medical and Health, Women and Child Health and Rural Development were asked to come up with a draft for the mission, which is to be submitted to the Chief Secretary by November 15.

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