Improving Access to Nutrition Services: Role of Frontline Functionaries

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For better access to nutrition and health services as well as to operationalize the several schemes frontline workers have been appointed by health and ICDS systems, these functionaries are an interface between the community and the Government systems.

They are:

Anganwadi Worker (AWW)

She is an honorary worker of ICDS, is selected from the local community and acts as a crucial link between the community and the ICDS system. She is a central figure in helping the community to identify and meet the health and nutrition needs of their children and women. AWW plays an important role in promoting child growth and development. She is also an agent of social change, mobilizing community support for better care of young children, girls and women.

The AWW is expected to monitor and promote the growth of children, with the active participation of communities/families. All children below three years are weighed monthly and 3-6 years quarterly by the AWW and appropriate counselling is provided to care givers by her in order to check growth faltering at an early stage.

Apart from growth monitoring the AWW organizes supplementary feeding, immunization sessions and refers cases to health facilities. She conducts non formal preschool activities through play way learning methods and prepares children for formal schooling. She strengthens the capacity of caregivers and family in prevention of under-nutrition through dissemination of care practices through counselling, nutrition and health education, and home visits.

Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)

The ASHAs under National Rural Health Mission have been appointed to facilitate access to health services, mobilize communities to realize health rights, access entitlements and provide community level care for a number of health priorities. ASHA's like the AWW's are selected from the community and given incentives for the tasks they perform. Their prime responsibilities include promotion of Institutional deliveries, management of common childhood illnesses, mobilization for immunization and home based newborn care.

Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM)

ANM is a permanent worker under the health system, is responsible for implementation of Reproductive Child Health component under NRHM. She is the key functionary at the Sub Health Centres. She is mandated to provide health services to women and children in all the villages under her jurisdiction. She ensures immunization and micronutrient supplementation of children and pregnant women, antenatal and post natal care, health check-up and management of sick and undernourished children. She counsels pregnant and lactating women and conducts health education.




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  • Indian Academny of Pediatrics
  • HealthPhone
  • Vodafone India
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development
  • UNICEF India

About IAP HealthPhone

An initiative of HealthPhone™, conducted under the aegis of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF, Aamir Khan and with support from Vodafone.

The objective of this nationwide campaign against malnutrition is to address issues of status of women, the care of pregnant mothers and children under two, breastfeeding and the importance of balanced nutrition and health. The focus is on women between 13 and 35 years of age and their family members.


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