Nutri-basket to tackle malnutrition, anaemia in Telangana tribals

The project will be implemented across the State if found successful, by carrying out impact assessment study.

By Author   |   Published: 14th Nov 2017   12:00 am Updated: 14th Nov 2017   4:02 pm
Scientists of ICRISAT and Collector RV Karnan formally inaugurating Nutri-Basket project. ICRISAT's Director General Dr David Bergvinson is also seen.

Adilabad: The Telangana State government, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA)-Utnoor and International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have jointly embarked on a pilot project, Nutri Food Basket.

It is a supplement diet to tackle malnutrition among tribal children, teenagers, and women of Utnoor, Tiryani and Kasipet mandals of erstwhile Adilabad for a period of nine months. The basket contains four items ready to cook such as sorghum meal, multigrain meal, nutri-cookies and energy dense nutrient food.

Adivasi children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers of Adilabad have been suffering from malnutrition and anaemia. A total of 38.5 per cent of children aged below 5 years were found to be underweight and 63.4 per cent of women aged 15 years to 49 years had haemoglobin level below 12 grams per decilitre, according to recent findings of National Family Health Survey 2015-2016.

“Considering the distributing facts of malnutrition and anaemia, the government and ITDA partnered with the international crop research organization to take up the pilot project in tribal habitations,” Aravazhi Selvaraj, Project Coordinator of ICRISAT told ‘Telangana Today’.

“A baseline survey was conducted three months ago through a non-invasive method (without collecting blood sample) and beneficiaries were identified. Around 5,000 people including children (age 3-5 years) will benefit from the project. The project will be implemented across the State if it succeeds, by carrying out an assessment impact survey,” added Selvaraj.

According to food scientists Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Food Scientist of ICRISAT; Priyanka Durgalla, Scientific Officer; and Harshavardhan Mane, Officer, the beneficiaries would be provided with two out of four items at local Anganwadi centres every day in the morning. The growth of children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers would be compared with normal ones selected in these three mandals.

In order to effectively implement the project, a supervisor has been be deputed for every 10 Anganwadi centres and GPS-enabled Android application ‘Pando’ has been developed for tracking growth of beneficiaries.

The supervisors would fill a questionnaire to assess impact of diet. The food packets are bar coded and their location can be found out from anywhere.