Madhya Pradesh's drive against the malnutrition among the children gets kicked off, with the government starting health fairs in villages where around 80,000 malnourished children will be weighed and provided nutrition diet.
The month-long fairs, organised under the Bal Sanjivani Abhiyan (Child Growth Monitoring Drive), were launched by Women and Child Welfare Minister Kusum Mehdele at Bada Bangadda village in Indore district.
"The drive will go a long way in totally eliminating malnourishment among children," Mehdele said, launching the drive Saturday.
According to data collected last year under the state government's Child Growth Monitoring Drive, 80,000 children are suffering from severe malnutrition.
The drive to address and control the problem of severe malnutrition is in its eighth phase, but malnutrition continues to persist.
"In the beginning of the campaign, it will cover such children whose parents are likely to migrate in search of work, and the registration of expectant mothers whose delivery is likely during April-May, a season when labour from the state migrates in large numbers," an official said.
"Weighing machines supplied by UNICEF are being provided at all such fairs and the availability of vitamin A will be ensured. Besides a nutritious diet, publicity material will also be made available," he said.
Another official of the women and child welfare department said: "There are plans to organise rallies, hold awakening camps, call for drum-beating in villages to make announcements about the drive and display as much publicity material as possible for the promotion of the drive.
"Mahila Mandals (Women's associations) will hold meetings and make home visits to create awareness about the drive, while street plays and puppet shows will also mark the fairs aimed at reducing malnutrition," he said.
O.P. Rawat, principal secretary of the women and child development department, said: "Under the drive, no area of the state would be left untouched."
Efforts would be made during the campaign to look after the acute malnourished children by providing them nutritious food and adequate medical treatment to make them healthy.
During the campaign, the health examination of the pregnant women, foster mothers and girls will also be conducted. Safe institutional deliveries will be encouraged among pregnant women, Rawat said.