Children in AP show poor physical growth, finds ICDS survey 

A slump in the midday meal plan, caused by the pandemic, resulted in the poor growth of over 14,364 children, and the stunted growth of 4,271 children 
Disruption in mid-day meals is the reason, says ICDS | Pic: Express
Disruption in mid-day meals is the reason, says ICDS | Pic: Express

It has been found that the physical growth and development of children in Andhra Pradesh have deteriorated during the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by the Palnadu district administration, over 14,364 children showed poor growth, and around 4,271 suffered from stunted growth, according to The New Indian Express.

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) officials began a ground-level survey to identify the number of children and their growth levels after the reorganisation of the district. As many as 1.27 lakh children were found to be under the age of six years in the district across 2,031 Anganwadi centers. On the other hand, over 7,322 girls under the age of 15 were found to be anemic. The reason behind this was the lack of a balanced diet.

Both the Central and State governments have allotted a budget to provide a healthy diet for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers through the Child Welfare and Development scheme. However, the nutritious meals provided by the Anganwadis and mid-day meals at schools to the children and pregnant women took a hit during the pandemic. The slump in the economic conditions of the families also contributed to poor growth and development.

"We are trying to fill the gaps of those two years and taking all measures to implement all government schemes perfectly at Anganwadis and schools to improve the scenario," said ICDS officials. Recently, Palnadu District Collector Sivashankar Lotheti conducted a workshop, inspected the statistics, and gave necessary instructions to the officials. He also directed them to ensure hot cooked meals were provided to the pregnant women through Anganwadi centers and good quality food was served to the children under the Jagananna Gorumudda scheme.

He also observed that over 27,000 children between the age group of 10 and 19 years were identified as drop-outs. The ICDS officials in coordination with other departments should encourage the children to enroll in school and distribute IAF tablets to prevent anemia among the children.

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