Delivering a comprehensive package for maternal nutrition interventions in India: Telangana shows the way
Ensuring women have nutritious diets, adequate services and care are fundamental for the survival and well-being of mothers and their children. Pregnancy is one of the most critical phases in a woman’s life. A woman with poor nutritional status is at a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications than a healthy woman. In fact, most Indian women enter pregnancy with one or more nutrition risks – 19% of women of reproductive age are thin for their height, 24% are obese and 57% are anemic. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-V) 2019-2021 highlights that anemia is prevalent among 53% of pregnant women in Telangana state and complications due to anemia in pregnant women are one of the major causes of maternal mortality. Committed to reducing anemia prevalence in women and children, the Government of India’s Anemia Mukt Bharat and the POSHAN Abhiyaan focus on several interventions including consumption of Iron Folic Acid tablets and increasing intake of iron-rich, protein-rich and vitamin C-rich foods through dietary diversification, awareness generation and counselling services. To further intensify efforts towards improving maternal nutrition in the most vulnerable areas (9 selected districts), the Government of Telangana has introduced a flagship programme, the K Chandra Shekhar Rao (KCR) Nutrition Kit with emphasis on better nutritional outcomes for the pregnant women among the tribal regions with high prevalence of anemia. The KCR Nutrition Kit will be distributed twice to all pregnant women registered in the public health facilities. The contents of the kit are designed in such a way to be highly nutritious with proteins, energy, micro and macronutrients and the supplements intended to address anemia and improve body mass index. The KCR Kit comprises of 1 kg Nutrition mix powder, 1 kg dates , 3 bottles of Iron-Folic Acid syrup, 500g Ghee, Albendazole tablet, Plastic basket (1) in the 2nd ANC / a cloth bag in the 3rd ANC and 1 Plastic cup. Additionally, providing appropriate nutrition, diet and health counselling to pregnant women are important components of the KCR Nutrition Kit programme. It includes adequate awareness and counselling to pregnant women as per their gestation age, body mass index, haemoglobin levels in the blood, weight gain and the nutritional care during pregnancy. Campaigns are being organized deploying a commonly recognized mascot- Geetamma to mobilize communities towards appropriate health and nutrition behaviours for women and children. The utilization of comprehensive antenatal services by pregnant women is also affected by the status of their mental health. To address this, the counselling materials are integrated with components of maternal mental health. This entails awareness creation on the routine care during gestation but also in screening and identifying pregnant women in need of mental health care and providing appropriate referrals. Details of the materials in the K Chandra Shekhar Rao (KCR) Nutrition Kit programme are available in the resources section. We hope you find this useful in the implementation and strengthening of women’s nutrition and antenatal care services in your respective areas.