Field validation exercise to evaluate community based Nawa Jatan intervention for child nutrition, Chhattisgarh, India
Malnutrition is a one of the major social and public health concern in India. Data shows that every 3rd child is underweight in India. There is a similar situation in Chhattisgarh with 37% children underweight. Women and Child Development (WCD) department does annual weighing campaign i.e. Wajan Tyohar, through community participation conducted through growth monitoring and provides community based supplementary nutrition at village level through frontline Anganwadi workers. Anthropometric measurement is the main tool to assess the nutrition status of children. An initiative was taken to validate the data reported by frontline workers in Chhattisgarh during the Nawa Jatan weighing campaign. A statistically representative sample of children was selected across the state and anthropometric measurement was done by post graduate students of Community Medicine department. In August 2016 Department of WCD did a universal weighing campaign for children and 30.13% of them were reported as being underweight. The validation exercise reports 37.76% as being underweight. The underweight children were followed up for next six months with special focus on their supplementary nutrition by frontline workers. After six months of this intervention 41.6% improved their nutrition status and reached normal (out of 30.13% reported underweight in August). As per validation report 39.6% children reached normal (out of 37.76% reported underweight in August). As per WCD department the overall program effectiveness is 41.6% in terms of improving the malnutrition status of underweight children. The validation exercise plays a vital role as supportive supervision and in capacity building of frontline workers. This exercise shows that the problem is bit more than estimated by frontline Anganwadi workers. The intervention has improved skills and work outcome of frontline workers.