Centre focuses on access to Anganwadi services for migrants
Polity & Governance
29th Jun, 2022
- About Anganwadi services
- India’s focus on vulnerable section of society
- Anganwadi’s facing challenges in India
- Steps to help inclusion of migrants
The Centre has instructed state governments and their Women and Child Development (WCD) departments to ensure digitization of anganwadi services so that migrating families can continue accessing the government’s Take Home Ration scheme even if they move to other states.
- During the recent COVID pandemic, the country has seen unprecedented migration of workers and families.
- WCD Ministry officials’ says-“Migrating families often fall through the cracks and stop receiving benefits of anganwadi services when they relocate from one state to another or even between blocks and districts within a state”.
What are Anganwadi services?
- Anganwadi is a type of rural mother and child care centre in India.
- They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
- A typical Anganwadi center provides basic health care in Indian villages.
- It is a part of the Indian public health care system. Basic health care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities.
- The centers may be used as depots for oral rehydration salts, basic medicines and contraceptives.
Grounds for migration of people
- Economic migration - moving to find work or follow a particular career path
- Social migration - moving somewhere for a better quality of life or to be closer to family or friends
- Political migration - moving to escape political persecution or war
- Environmental - causes of migration include natural disasters such as flooding, pandemic like COVID.
Challenges for migrants
- Poor accommodation: Vulnerable individuals, especially children, are prone to respiratory infections and gastrointestinal illnesses because of poor living conditions, suboptimal hygiene and deprivation during migration.
- Gender specific: Female migrants who do not have access to and are not informed about the availability of reproductive health services, including antenatal care, may receive late diagnoses, and their conditions may sometimes be life-threatening for women, mothers and their babies.
- Susceptibility to diseases: Migrants come from communities affected by war, conflict or economic crisis and undertake long, exhausting journeys often increase their risks for diseases, which include communicable diseases, particularly measles, and food- and waterborne diseases.
- Lack of basic amenities: Migrants are more likely to experience disrupted or uncertain supplies of safe food and water, especially under difficult and sometimes desperate circumstances. In these conditions, people may be more prone to use inedible or contaminated food ingredients, cook food improperly or eat spoilt food.
- Hurdles in Inoculation: Providing vaccination in migrants is a tremendous challenge in itself due to lack of awareness in migrants, inadequate documentation and vaccine hesitancy.
- Political exclusion:The political class ignores them because they don’t count as votes, especially in the case of inter-state migrants.
Role of Anganwadi services in dealing these challenges
Anganwadi Workers will mobilize the community and facilitate them in accessing health and health related services available at the Anganwadi/sub-centre/primary health centers, such as immunization, ante natal check-up, post-natal check-up, supplementary nutrition, sanitation and other services being provided by the government.
- Anganwadi Workers ensure that regular health and medical check-ups for women 15- to 49-years-old take place and that all women and children have access to these check-ups.
- Anganwadi Worker (AWW) guides ASHA in performing activities such as organizing Health Day once/twice a month at Anganwadi Centre and orientating women on health related issues such as importance of nutritious food, personal hygiene, care during pregnancy, importance of immunization etc.
- Angannwadi workers need to provide care for newborn babies and ensure that all children below the age of 6 are immunized.
- They are expected to provide antenatal care for pregnant women and ensuring that they are immunized against tetanus. In addition to this they provide post-natal care to nursing mothers.
- They make home visits for educating parents to enable mothers to plan an effective role in the child’s growth and development and special emphasis on new born child.
- To identify the disability among children during her home visits and refer the case immediately to the nearest PHC or District Disability Rehabilitation Centre.
- Assist mothers to establish breastfeeding and overcome any difficulties, which is the best way to prevent malnutrition, some diseases and mortality among infants according to WHO.
- Anganwadi centers were allowed to inoculate the migrants with verification in the recent covid pandemic.
How the move will be advantageous?
The complete digitization of the process of registration will allow the beneficiaries of one state to avail the aforesaid services in other states which will ensure that migrant families especially children can continue to get supplementary nutrition given by the government to curb the malnutrition.
It’s a praiseworthy move of the Centre the issues of migrants are real and undeniable. Government should ensure that each migrant must have full, uninterrupted access to a hospitable environment and, when needed, to high-quality health care, without discrimination on the basis of gender, age, religion, nationality or race.
Q1) Anganwadi centres play a vital role in securing children’s rights for their all-round development. What impact can an empowered Anganwadi worker bring about?
Q2. Do you think there is need to empower Anganwadi Workers in order to reinvent rural India.