After two successful years of Dettol Banega Swasth India’s nutrition initiative, the Reach Each Child program has made a significant impact on the community with the aim of achieving zero child deaths due to malnutrition in Amravati and Nandurbar districts and saving thousands of lives. Through consistent efforts and on-ground interventions, the program today supports thousands of children under the age of five by creating a cadre of frontline workers for nutrition named Community Nutrition Workers.
With an aim to support the nation in its fight against under nutrition, Reckitt and Plan India have been constantly working towards improving maternal and child health standards in India by investing in better nutrition. With its continuous interventions on the ground, the program was able to produce a social value of Rs. 37 from each rupee invested. The third phase of the Reach Each Child initiative, launched in 2021, provides support and care during the first 1000 days of a mother and child’s life. Reach Each Child program prioritises adequate nutrition for children under the age of 5 through locally-led initiatives, with community nutrition workers being key suppliers of information and services. The program has made a significant impact on families in the last two years in Amravati and Nandurbar districts and aims to expand the initiative and extend its support by scaling up its best practices to new mothers across other aspirational districts of India, as well.
The program’s guiding principles throughout the journey have been adopting a lifecycle approach to nutrition; gender sensitivity and inclusivity; community ownership and early prevention. The initiative is constructed around reducing the number of stunted children under-5 by 40% and reduce and maintain child wasting to <5% with a multisectoral and multi-dimensional approach.
Speaking on World Nutrition Day, Mr Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and partnerships, SOA, Reckitt, said,
Good Health and wellbeing are at the heart of our purpose at Reckitt, and through our initiatives, we work to protect, heal and nurture for a cleaner and healthier world. We are glad to announce that our pilot interventions under ‘Reach Each Child’ program in Nandurbar and Amravati has helped achieve 0 malnutrition deaths among supported children and increasing the proportion of women choosing facility-based deliveries by 26 per cent. Our aim with the Reach Each Child initiative is to bring a change in the lives of 10 million new mothers by 2024.
Commenting on the partnership Mr. Mohd. Asif, Executive Director, Plan India stated
Our partnership with Reckitt for Reach Each Child program has helped us bring about a significant change in people’s lives, particularly that of children and mothers. At Plan India, we are all incredibly proud and delighted to be a part of the program and on the occasion of World Nutrition Day we continue to draw our focus and that of all development actors on developing and deepening the knowledge, skills and confidence of mothers and caregivers of children to proactively maintain healthy pregnancies, protect child’s health through innovative behavior change communication and community activities.
India contributes to 1/3rd of the global burden of undernutrition, with 46.6 million stunted children and highest number of child wasting across South Asia. According to UNICEF research, India is likely to witness a 10% increase in malnutrition post the pandemic. Given India’s population size, investing in actions to reduce all forms of malnutrition is especially important to attain global targets as nutrition is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Maharashtra was the worst hit in Wave 1 and 2 of Covid-19 pandemic, with Nandurbar district having the highest positivity rate in the second wave. Dettol BSI’s efforts under the ‘Reach Each Child’ Program across the state supported Maharashtra in improving access to care and support for mothers before, during, and after pregnancy and severely malnourished children by refurbishing NRCs and health facilities. Program ensured that mothers had better access to care by taking up the following targeted interventions such as promoting good nutritional practices, provision of micronutrients through food fortification for all, therapeutic feeding for malnourished children with special foods, increasing intake of vitamins, minerals for young children and their mothers, providing incentivization via conditional-cash-transfers and others. Endorsed by NITI Aayog, Reach Each Child Program was featured as best practices in aspirational districts to fight undernutrition in India.
Taking a step forward in the journey, Reach Each Child plans to install Takhti at Zilla Parishad offices of all villages across Amravati and Nandurbar that have witnessed zero deaths due to malnutrition. As part of the celebration, community nutrition workers will also demonstrate steps and benefits of hand washing and conduct panel discussions on the importance of health, hygiene and nutrition in life. Nutritional experts from NRC will showcase healthy recipes using local produce along with various other engaging and educational activities throughout the day undertaken by Reach Each Child program volunteers. Also, as part of the initiative “Reach Each Child” voucher scheme will be launched which would benefit hundreds of children who are malnourished.
Aligned to Indian government’s “National Health Mission” aimed at ending malnutrition and meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Reckitt developed the ‘Reach Each Child’ initiative along with its partner Plan India to spread awareness and reach every child in the fight against malnutrition.
About Reckitt: Reckitt* exists to protect, heal, and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. We believe that access to the highest-quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment is a right, not a privilege.
Reckitt is the company behind some of the world’s most recognisable and trusted consumer brands in hygiene, health, and nutrition, including Air Wick, Calgon, Cillit Bang, Clearasil, Dettol, Durex, Enfamil, Finish, Gaviscon, Harpic, Lysol, Mortein, Mucinex, Nurofen, Nutramigen, Strepsils, Vanish, Veet, Woolite and more.
Every day, more than 20 million Reckitt products are bought globally. We always put consumers and people first, seek out new opportunities, strive for excellence in all that we do and build shared success with all our partners. We aim to do the right thing, always.
We are a diverse global team of more than 43,000 colleagues. We draw on our collective energy to meet our ambitions of purpose-led brands, a healthier planet, and a fairer society. Find out more or get in touch with us at www.reckitt.com.
*Reckitt is the trading name of Reckitt Benckiser group of companies.
About PLAN India: Plan India is a nationally registered not for profit organisation striving to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, thus creating a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded children and their communities. Plan India is a member of the Plan International Federation, an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International is active in more than 70 countries. Plan began work in India in 1979. Over the years, Plan and its partners have helped communities throughout India to support themselves so that children have access to their rights including the right to Protection, Basic education, Proper healthcare, healthy environment, Livelihood opportunities and their participation in decisions making process which affect their lives.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.