The Ministry of Women and Child Development has identified around 12,000 undernourished children in the 0-6 age group across 77 districts in eight states with the help of technology and new monitoring methods, the Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.
The deficiencies were identified after the ministry launched a real-time monitoring project in June and equipped 50,000 childcare workers at the block level with smartphones. Under the ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project, these anganwadi workers monitored the health of 36 lakh children under the age of six on a daily basis, the ministry said.
“The anganwadi worker records the height and weight of each of the children, what food they are served and sends the information to the centralised database monitored at the block level and the Centre,” Women and Child Development Secretary Rakesh Srivastava was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Under the new system, when an anganwadi worker updates about a child who is severely underweight or who has not grown over a period of time, alerts are sent out to the parents, the child development project officer and the ministry.
“This help us monitor the impact of ICDS by tracking the status of the undernourished or severely malnourished children and make necessary intervention,” Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi told the Hindustan Times. The ministry may soon expand the project to include all children in these districts.
According to a United Nations report released in September, nearly 11% of the world’s population, or 815 million people, were chronically undernourished in 2016. This is 38 million more people than 2015.