The Anganwadi program is an Integrated Child Development Service.It seeks to provide a package of integrated services focused on children under six.The main services are as follows:
Nutrition: Under this service a hot meal cooked at the Anganwadi, based on a mix of pulses, cereals, oil, vegetable, sugar, iodised salt, etc. Sometimes “take-home rations” (THR) are provided for children under the age of three years. Children under three are weighed regularly to keep a check on their health and nutrition status. Women aged 15-45 years are supposed to receive counselling sessions and demonstrations on infant feeding, family planning, sanitation, utilization of health services, etc.
Health: This cover immunizing children under six against polio, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), measles, and tuberculosis, while pregnant women are immunized against tetanus. A range of health services are supposed to be provided including health checkups of children under six, ante-natal care of expectant mothers, post-natal care of nursing mothers, recording of weight, management of undernutrition, and treatment of minor ailments. Children with severe cases of medical problems are referred by the Anganwadi worker to the medical officers of the Primary Health Centres (PHCs).
Pre-School Education: Anganwadi is supposed to provide a learning environment to children aged 3-6 years, and early care and stimulation for children under the age of three, preparing them for primary schooling.
Sunita Kasera, our community correspondent from Karauli, Rajasthan says there are 2 Anganwadi centres in her area. A mother of three children, Sunita had been a beneficiary of the Anganwadi program during her pregnancy. But, in past few years she has witnessed a gradual decline in the service. So now few women from her community visit the anganwadi centre. According to Sunita the situation can improve only when there is better coordination and cooperation among people who are responsible for the implementation of Anganwadi program. These are Aanganwadi Worker, Anganwadi helper, Child Development Project Officer, Supervisor, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife, Accredited Social Health Activist and the Community.