Engaging Panchayati Raj Institutions to Improve Nutritional Outcome

Young PRI member showing the way in Bharuch, Gujarat 

The proactive approach adopted by Kiranbhai Lavghanbhai Vasava, Sarpanch of Samor village proved pivotal in identifying issues with service delivery and taking corrective action. The 33-year-old Sarpanch visited the Samor Primary School as a part of the intervention to improve nutrition service quality and ensure coverage of services under the Gujarat IR being conducted by Alive & Thrive to support the state government. 

Accompanied by the block program coordinator from A&T, Kiranbhai interacted with the school officials and teachers. During the visit, while checking the register for Iron & Folic Acid (IFA) stocks, he observed that the school did not have a stock of IFA tablets, following the reopening after the COVID-19 outbreak. All government-run & government-aided schools in India are mandated to distribute IFA tablets to school children under the WIFS Junior component of the Anemia Mukt Bharat program to reduce anemia prevalence. He also noted that the Health Check-Up register (as mandated under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karykram) was also not maintained in the school.

Kiranbhai organized a meeting with the ASHA and Community Health Officer of the village and instructed the ASHA to immediately supply required IFA stocks to Samor Primary School. The PRI member also instructed teachers to maintain a health check-up register. Post his visit, follow-ups have shown that the school has received IFA stocks and a health check-up register has been prepared. The action taken by Kiranbhai is a classic example of how small steps can resolve crucial issues if PRI engagement with nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific services is charted through a structured approach.