- Every year, September is observed as Poshan Maah (month)
- Poshan Maah is celebrated to raise awareness on the importance of nutrition
- This year, there are 4 different themes for every week
New Delhi: On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018, PM Narendra Modi launched The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan which is also known as National Nutrition Mission. It is Government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The POSHAN Abhiyaan directs the attention of the country towards the problem of malnutrition and aims to address it in a mission-mode, PM Modi said during the launch.
The Poshan Abhiyaan has set goals to reduce child under-nutrition and low birth weight by 2 per cent a year, and anaemia across age groups by 3 per cent, and create a mass movement for good nutrition in the country.
Although the progress of the Abhiyan in achieving these targets has not yet been shared by the government, as per experts, due to the setbacks created by the COVID-19 pandemic, India needs to intensify the campaign to achieve these.
As part of the POSHAN Abhiyan, every year, the month of September is observed as Poshan Maah.
About Poshan Maah
In order to ensure community mobilisation and bolster people’s participation, every year, the month of September is celebrated as POSHAN Maah across the country.
This month highlights the importance and role of the right nutrition for the human body. A balanced diet with a combination of essential nutrients and calories is pivotal for the smooth working and growth of the human body.
During the Poshan Maah, activities related to nutrition awareness will be carried out across the country upto the grass root levels. The implementing departments and agencies like women and child development department through Anganwadi workers and health and family welfare department through ASHA, ANM, will carry out the activities and spread the message of holistic nutrition throughout the month to ensure a healthier future for women and children, as per a government statement.
The POSHAN Maah intends to achieve the holistic goals of Poshan Abhiyaan with swiftness in a harmonised manner, the statement read.
Themes And Activities For Poshan Maah 2021
Each Year, a unique theme is chosen to celebrate the Poshan Maah. This year, as India celebrates the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, to ensure speedy & intensive outreach, the entire month has been subdivided into weekly themes for a focused and assimilated approach towards improving Holistic Nutrition.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has planned a series of activities throughout the month with four weekly themes.
The first theme is Plantation Activity as “Poshan Vatika” and will be observed from September 1-7. The second theme is Yoga and AYUSH for nutrition and will be observed from September 8 to 15.
The third theme has been decided as Distribution of ‘Regional Nutrition Kit’ to Anganwadi beneficiaries of High Burdened Districts and will be observed from 16-23 September.
Lastly, the fourth theme is ‘Identification of SAM (Severely Acute Malnourished) children and distribution of nutritious food’ and will be observed from 24-30 September.
As per the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the plantation drive for Poshan Vatika will be done by all the stakeholders in the space available at Anganwadis, School Premises, Gram Panchayats, and other places.
Plantation activity will focus on the planting of saplings of nutritious fruit trees, local vegetables and medicinal plants and herbs. Sensitization and awareness drive for COVID vaccination and Observance of COVID Protocols will also be held, the statement said.
Furthermore, there will be a special drive for Height and Weight Measurement for Children under 6 years of age during the Poshan Maah. Slogan writing and Recipe competitions will also be organised to highlight the locally available nutritious food for pregnant women.
The government is also promoting a 5-minute Yoga Protocol or a Yoga break at various government workplaces and corporate bodies. Other activities, as per the statement, includes,
Awareness campaign on the importance of regional food, distribution of Nutrition Kits comprising of regional nutritious food, Anaemia Camps, Drive for block-wise Identification of SAM Children, Supervised Supplementary Feeding Program for SAM children as an initiative to tackle the prevalence of SAM in children up to the age of 5 years, Sensitisation for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition and Distribution of nutritious food for SAM children.
About Poshan Abhiyan
Nutrition plays an important role in the overall development of an individual. As a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, it is necessary to have nutrition like salts, vitamins, proteins in our daily diet.
“POSHAN Abhiyaan is a Jan Andolan or “People’s Movement” by incorporating the participation of public representatives, social organisations, and private sectors,” the statement from the Ministry of Women and Child Development read.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations’s report, ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2020, 189.2 million people or 14 per cent of India’s population are undernourished. The report also highlights that 34.7 per cent of the children aged under five in India are stunted or too short for their age, while 20 per cent suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.
UNICEF India’s Chief of Nutrition, Arjan De Wagt tells NDTV,
If we look at the data from 3 years ago, at the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, that shows that almost 50 percent of the children have one or the other form of undernutrition. Which means, they and their immune system didn’t grow well. If their brain doesn’t grow well, when children go to school, they can’t perform well. With their backgrounds and the impact of COVID-19, we are worried that the numbers in relation to malnutrition crisis, will further increase.
He further raised concerns over how COVID-19 might have impacted not only the way forward but also the progress made in the last 3 years.
POSHAN Abhiyan is trying to deliver the right thing, it’s a good set of high potential interventions for the women and children and the target is for 2022 which is feasible. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re really worried that some of the progress made in the last 3 may be lost. But the good thing is that the POSHAN Abhiyan is completely back, Dr Wagt said.
Starting September 1, the government will promote the importance of nutrition, using the above mention four themes, each week.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. 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 highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. 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 become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.