Lucknow, Nov 30 (IANS) The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) signed an MoU with the National Health Mission, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday, to improve nutrition for the vulnerable populations, including women, newborns and young children, an official said.
The MoU was signed by the National Health Mission Director Alok Kumar and MI India Country Director Sucharita Dutta in presence of senior officials from the Routine Immunization, Adolescent Health, Maternal Health, Child Health and Community Processes Division and MI's state team.
Although over the past few years, the state has reduced child mortality, the state infant mortality and child mortality rates at 48 and 57 children per 1,000 live births (SRS 2014) continue to be higher than the national averages while anaemia in children (6-59 months old) and pregnant women is 80 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, an official informed.
As per the Rapid Survey of Children 2013-14 (Unicef), 47 per cent children below 5 years are underweight, 28.4 per cent are severely stunted and only 22.6 per cent of deliveries see early initiation of breastfeeding.
MI's partnership with the National Health Mission aims at reducing malnutrition among adolescents, women and children through an integrated health service delivery, thereby supporting Uttar Pradesh in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The MoU outlines MI's four-year programme (2016 to 2020) for supporting the state government's health and nutrition initiatives with an investment of Rs 25.12 crores, supported by the Canada government.
"MI will work to reduce anaemia among adolescent girls and reach out to newborns to ensure they get the right start in life through safe deliveries, kangaroo mother care, Vitamin K at birth, delayed bathing, early initiation of breastfeeding and proper counselling of mothers on child care and nutrition.
Support would also be extended at community level to improve the infant and young child feeding practices among children below two years of age," the official further said.
The Mission Director Alok Kumar said, "This MoU reflects the commitment we have for mothers and children of Uttar Pradesh for ensuring their better health and nutrition and a better quality of life. The Micronutrient Initiative is supporting the implementation of key health and nutrition programmes which will steer the state close to achieving its targets."
MI India Country Director Sucharita Dutta said, "We believe in investing in women, girls and children so that the present and future generations are healthy and productive. It is our proud privilege to partner with the National Health Mission in Uttar Pradesh and together we are confident of breaking the cycle of malnutrition and making a difference to the lives of women, girls and young children of the state."
With MI's support across 20 districts in the state, around 1.9 crore children below the age of 5 years will receive a boost with Vitamin A supplements, around 2.92 lakh newborns will benefit from early breastfeeding and kangaroo mother care, while in 10 districts nearly 8.2 lakh adolescent girls will receive weekly Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) under the National Iron Plus Initiative programme and children with diarrhoea will receive ORS and Zinc tablets.
MI is an international NGO working to improve nutrition for women and girls. In India, MI works with the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh to strengthen state-run health and nutrition programmes.