Context: Recently, Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), launched the first ever “Protocol for Identification and Management of Malnutrition in Children’’ by the government, which has been put into place by the WCD Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Ayush.
Why it is important:
- Mission Poshan 2.0 emphasizes the identification and treatment of malnourished children.
- Previously, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) treatment was confined to healthcare facilities. Now, a national ‘Protocol for Management of Malnourished Children’ has been introduced, enabling identification and management of malnourished children at the Anganwadi level, covering referral decisions, nutritional care, and follow-up.
More About Protocol for Identification and Management of Malnutrition in Children
- It provides detailed 10-step guidelines for identification and management of malnourished children at the Anganwadi level.
- The guidelines include growth monitoring, appetite testing, nutritional management of malnourished children and follow up care of children who manage to achieve requisite growth parameters after intervention.
- It also includes unique initiatives like the “Buddy mother” concept which was first used in the state of Assam. Under this scheme, the mother of a healthy baby guides the mother of a malnourished child at an Angandwadi centre every week.
- According to the protocol, SAM (Severe Acute Malnourished) children with medical complications, presence of bilateral pitting oedema and/or failed appetite test will be enrolled in the NRCs.
Bilateral pitting edema refers to swelling in both legs, or occasionally in both arms, that is characterised by an indentation, or “pit”, that remains when pressure is applied to the swollen area.
- Every SAM child who passes the appetite test and all severely underweight (SUW) children shall be screened by the medical officer of primary health centres within three-five days of the test to identify any health issues, hidden infection or danger signs.
- Children with any medical complication should be referred to the nearest health facility for medical management and further treatment of sickness.