Integrated Child Development Scheme, a beloved flagship initiative, offers children vital support like nutrition, immunization, and early education. Started in 1975, it’s one of the world’s largest programs, aiming for the overall development of children. State governments and union territories implement this federally funded program. The plan is national in scope, encompassing all of the country’s districts. Anganwadi Services is the new name for the scheme.
Major Objectives of ICDS
- To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years.
- To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child.
- To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout.
- To achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development.
- To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child.
- To facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls (AGs) so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens.
Schemes Under ICDS
Anganwadi Services Scheme: This is a special program that focuses on the early development and care of children from birth to six years old, as well as pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna: Under this scheme, pregnant and lactating mothers receive a cash incentive of Rs. 5,000/- in three installments directly into their bank or post office accounts, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria.
National Creche Scheme: Designed to support working women, this scheme offers daycare services for children aged six months to six years. The daycare operates for seven and a half hours each day, totaling 26 days a month.
Scheme for Adolescent Girls: This initiative targets out-of-school girls aged 11 to 14, aiming to empower them and enhance their social status through various activities such as nutrition education, life skills training, and home management skills. It includes provisions for nutritional supplements like iron and folic acid.
Poshan Abhiyan: This campaign aims to combat malnutrition and related issues like stunting, undernutrition, anaemia, and low birth weight babies. It places particular emphasis on the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers, striving to improve their overall health and well-being.
Scope of Services
Supplementary Nutrition: In our community, we ensure that children under six years old, along with pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, receive extra food and are regularly checked to ensure healthy growth and development.
Pre-school Non-formal Education: Think of this part as the heart of our program. At our Anganwadi centers in villages, rural areas, and urban slums, all the different services of the ICDS scheme come together to support early education for children.
Nutrition and Health Education: We focus on empowering women aged 15 to 45 with knowledge about nutrition and health. Through this approach, known as Behavior Change Communication (BCC), we aim to help women take charge of their health, nutrition, and the well-being of their families.
Immunization: We make sure that children and pregnant women are protected from preventable diseases like diphtheria, polio, measles, and tetanus through timely vaccinations. For pregnant women, tetanus shots are particularly crucial in reducing the risk of neonatal and maternal mortality.
Health Checkups: Our comprehensive health check-ups cover children under six, expecting mothers, and nursing mothers. Services include regular check-ups, treatment for conditions like diarrhea, deworming, keeping track of weight, administering vaccines, and providing affordable medicines.
Referral Services: If we identify any serious health issues during our check-ups, we ensure immediate referral to hospitals or primary health centers. Additionally, our Anganwadi workers are trained to detect early signs of developmental issues in children and provide necessary support.
Since its inception on October 2, 1975, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme has stood as a beacon of hope in the Indian government’s efforts to nurture its youngest citizens. It’s not just a program; it’s a lifeline for countless preschoolers, expectant mothers, and nursing mothers across the nation. With its focus on providing holistic care and early education, ICDS aims to break the harsh cycle of malnutrition, illness, and limited learning potential that often plagues vulnerable communities. Through ICDS, these mothers and children receive more than just assistance; they receive the support and opportunities they need to thrive.
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