Malnutrition in children is a challenge worldwide across the developing countries. Proper care and nutrition from birth to the age of five years, proves quite instrumental in harnessing the optimum genetic potential of growth. UNICEF points that nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to malnutrition. Poor nutrition in the first 3 years of a child’s life can lead to stunted growth, which is irreversible and associated with impaired cognitive ability.
In India the government is committed to combat malnutrition. Nutrition supplement programme (Integrated Child Development Scheme) of the government is functional in all anganwadis across the country.
The benefits of vast resources spent through ICDS quite often do not reach the target group in its intended quality and quantity. And despite the existing monitoring mechanism in place, maintaining the quality of program still remains a huge challenge.
Nutrition Monitoring System is developed by Indev Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. Aims to combat Malnutrition by doing Real time monitoring. It is designed for monitoring growth parameters for: a) children under the age of five; b) pregnant women; and c) adolescent girls.
This application provides integrated ICT solution which includes mobile, web and GIS. With the use of this application different vital parameters are periodically monitored.
Nutrition Monitoring System constitutes a web application as well as a mobile application. The mobile application also works offline as most of the remote places may not have reliable Internet connectivity. The data collected is temporarily locally stored and transferred to the server as soon as the Internet is available.
Children enrolled in the AWCs are monitored for four parameters: a) Mid-arm Upper Circumference (MUAC); b) Height; c) Weight; and d) Hemoglobin (Hb). Based on these mentioned parameters evaluation of an individual child is done.
Pregnant women registered in the AWCs are periodically monitored during the pregnancy period for: a) Weight gain; b) Body Mass Index (BMI); and c) Hemoglobin.
Adolescent girls registered in the AWCs are monitored for hemoglobin and it is checked whether they are anemic or not.
Indev Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. have been doing the growth monitoring for last two years in the and evaluated the project on a periodic basis and improvising it as per the requirement of the various stakeholders.
“The Nutrition surveillance system customized by Indev consultancy Pvt Ltd for the malnutrition reduction project of JSW Foundation has been very effective in tracking and addressing the child specific nutrition issues. The government of Maharashtra in general and the district administration in particular has been very appreciative of this.” Says Mr. Rakesh Sharma, DGM – Corporate Social Responsibility of JSW Foundation.
JSW Foundation is supporting in the implementation of Nutrition Monitoring System in Maharashtra.
The user friendly aspect of this mobile application is designed keeping in mind the last mile grassroots worker. Hence it can be handled and operated by people with moderate technological skills.
Once the data is synchronized it automatically analyzes the data and generates alert to the Taluka/ Block, district and state level stakeholders, as it observes any alarming information of severe malnutrition.
Periodically collected data provides overview of real time condition of children so that necessary actions can be taken by supervisory authorities. The higher level authorities can monitor real time analysis of data using the web application which is an integral feature of nutrition monitoring system.
The normal and comparative graphs, maps etc generated from the synthesized information have over the time period come out as decision support system to higher level authorities in program implementation.
Nutrition Monitoring System is dynamic. It does not become static post monitoring. It calls for action and also sensitizes decision-makers and other stakeholders such as state, community, parents and civil society members. SMS and emails sent by the system to decision-making stakeholders have been able to sensitize and make them proactive.
As of now this programe is being implemented in the Palghar district of Maharashtra and Gajraula in Uttar Pradesh and monitoring more than fifty thousand children.
Director of Indev Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.