India's Primary Policy Response: The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Program
Started by the Government of India in 1975, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has been instrumental in improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and children under 6 by providing health and nutrition education, health services, supplementary food, and pre-school education. The ICDS national development program is one of the largest in the world. It reaches more than 34 million children aged 0-6 years and 7 million pregnant and lactating mothers. Other programs impacting on under-nutrition include the National Mid-day Meal Scheme, the National Rural Health Mission, and the Public Distribution System (PDS). The challenge for all these programs and schemes is how to increase efficiency, impact and coverage.
In the area of Child Development and Nutrition, UNICEF assists the Government to further expand and enhance the quality of ICDS by:
- Improving the training of childcare workers;
- Developing innovative communication approaches with mothers;
- Improving the monitoring and reporting systems;
- Providing essential supplies;
- Developing effective community-based early childcare interventions;
- Providing Iron-Folic Acid supplementation for adolescents;
- Providing Vitamin A supplementation for young children;
- Increasing the use of iodised salt.
16 May, 2017