J&K Wins Praise For Healthcare Services During Pandemic

An elderly woman picks up a Covid-19 vaccine on the Tosa Maidan meadow in central Kashmiri’s Budgam district | KO file photo of Abid Bhat

UT had 100% functioning community health centers during Covid-19, sub centers: NITI Aayog

srinagar With the Jammu & Kashmir government’s overarching motivation and constant focus to prioritize effective health care, a new report from the Indian government has found that in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, J&K has 100 percent functioning Community Health Centers (CHC) and had sub-centres.

The report by the Indian government think tank Niti Aayog outlines India’s progress on the centre’s flagship Poshan Abhiyan and assesses the implementation of key inputs and services. It noted a significant increase in use of funds between fiscal years 2017-18 and 2019-20 at J&K.

According to the report, from 2017-18 to 2018-19, J&K used less than 20 percent of the funds. However, the cumulative funds used in J&K for Poshan Abhiyaan grew to over 40 percent in fiscal year 2019-20.

In terms of governance and the institutional mechanism, which includes components such as the use of funds and the formation of committees and resource groups to develop and comply with the Convergence Action Plan (CAP), J&K was among the top UTs scoring 10 or more, stated the report. J&K was also among the UTs in which all districts developed and submitted CAP for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

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In 2018, the Government of India launched its flagship program, POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan, to bring national attention to and take action against malnutrition, in mission mode.

POSHAN Abhiyaan is the Government of India’s flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and adolescents. The Abhiyaan is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with a vision to accelerate India’s progress in tackling malnutrition in a timely manner and with specified targets.

The report also states that J&K ranked fourth among Union Territories in overall implementation of the Poshan Abhiyan at the national level in 2020. The maximum score awarded is 100 and UT’s score has settled above 70.

However, when it comes to women’s and child development, J&K scored only 7, the lowest among UTs, in the statewide ratings for program activities and intervention coverage. Among UTs, the lowest take-home ration (THR) coverage was also recorded in Jammu and Kashmir, where only 49 percent pregnant women, 51 percent breastfeeding women and 54 percent children were insured under the scheme.

“It is imperative to investigate the reasons for the low coverage of THR and growth monitoring. States and UTs should assess whether the gaps in THR coverage relate to supply chain issues or are the result of demand-side challenges. For growth monitoring, states should assess whether there are gaps in staff training on measuring children, availability of supplies, or community awareness to take advantage of the service and find appropriate solutions,” the report said.

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The report, citing the problems of the pandemic, found that compared to the pre-pandemic period, the number of pregnant women who received four or more screenings has decreased in most states and UTs (30 out of 35 states/UTs). is. “Coverage remained low in Goa, Manipur, Nagaland, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir,” the report said.

According to the analysis, the number of institutional deliveries (including cesarean section) performed has decreased in most states and UTs (32 of 35 states/UTs) compared to the pre-pandemic period. However, from June through September 2020, there was an improvement in 29 states and UTs that saw declines in the previous quarter. Among these, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Jammu and Kashmir have recovered to pre-pandemic levels,” the report said.

The report also says that there are 6,198 malnourished children in J&K. In addition, only 65% ​​of pregnant women received 180 iron and folic acid (IFA) tablets and only 3% of 5- to 9-year-old children received IFA tablets weekly. However, according to the report, 100 percent of breastfeeding women received 180 IFA tablets in J&K.

Accordingly, J&K ranked second nationally with 98 percent in the category of home visits to homes with pregnant mothers for advice on appropriate interventions. However, in the category of children (0-59 months) reported with diarrhea and treated with ORS & zinc, UT was ranked lowest as only 29 percent of children had received the necessary treatment.

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This is the fourth POSHAN Abhiyaan Progress Report, assessing the progress of POSHAN Abhiyaan implementation, analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nutrition and health services, and providing insights into the recovery and adaptation of service delivery and other related needs across India are.

The report provides key recommendations to deepen India’s efforts to tackle malnutrition, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Appropriately, the report also highlights five key lessons learned through the implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan over the past three years, including following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Zayd Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent for the Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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