IN A bid to overcome challenges identified by the state Women and Child Development Department regarding the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in an urban areas like Mumbai, the balwadis run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have been geo-mapped.
These balwadis will carry out the key functions of an anganwadi centre. The staff at these institutions will be given special training to identify children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).
“We need 6,150 anganwadis within BMC’s area but have around 5,000. So, we are covering the gap by carrying out six key activities of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) through balwadis. Out of 840 balwadis, 800 have been geotagged by us with full co-operation from additional and joint municipal commissioners of the civic body,” said I A Kundan, Principal Secretary, Women and Child Development department.
“By overlaying the data of balwadi locations with that of anganwadis on slum boundaries, we will be able to identify the coverage gap in ICDS. All the balwadis will be enhanced to provide services like the anganwadi centres. It is envisioned that previously uncovered population from ICDS will be covered through balwadi enhancement,” Kundan said.
The main objectives of the ICDS are to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age group of 0-6 years; lay the foundation of psychological, physical and social development of the child; reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout. It offers services such as supplementary nutrition, preschool non-formal education, nutrition and health education, immunisation, health check-up and referral services.
“Through the recent intervention of urban ICDS restructuring, we have resolved the issues of administrative boundaries and lack of linkages of urban ICDS with municipal administration,” the officer said.