Gujarat: Child and maternal malnutrition continue to be the most challenging risk factor for health loss in India. There has been an alarmingly high rate of undernutrition and child stunting among children in India. The Global Hunger Index (2020) — which is calculated on the basis of total undernourishment of the population, child stunting, wasting and child mortality — places India at the 94th spot among 107 countries.
Through its health initiative ‘Aarogya’, Tata Motors, in association with the Manav Seva Trust (MST) in Sanand, Gujarat, undertook several initiatives to address malnutrition and undernutrition in the state. Besides fulfilling its immediate goal of improving the nutritional levels of the children, the initiatives were also aimed at raising awareness among mothers concerning hygienic and healthy nutritional practices.
Conducted in coordination with the Anganwadis of the villages within the Sanand taluka, the project with MST covered all the following aspects:
- conducting regular health checkups of children and pregnant mothers in the centres
- providing health tonic and required medicine as prescribed by the doctor
- conducting home visits during cooking hours to share information on health and nutritious food practices
- village women were introduced to the range of sustainable kitchen gardening practices to ensure access to nutrient-rich vegetables
- organising cluster-level meetings and consultation workshops in the Anganwadi centre to raise awareness
The initiative was directed to benefit 184 undernourished children (between ages 0-6) across 48 villages in and around Sanand and was implemented through a convergence model under the government’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). A focused approach, with children being fed five meals during the day in these Anganwadis, helped facilitate a speedy recovery. In the culmination of the sustained efforts under this project, more than 95 per cent of the previously undernourished children are back in the healthy zone. The programme has also helped participant families substantially reduce hospital and other medicinal expenses while enabling mothers to pursue their work on farms without the need to take leaves. The programme is linked back to the State Government’s initiative for greater synergy and maximum impact.
Reflecting on the initiative, Vinod Kulkarni, CSR Head, Tata Motors, said, “Conserving health has been one of the fundamental pillars of the social welfare programmes undertaken by Tata Motors. Under ‘Aarogya’, our health initiative, we strive to promote good health within the community. Our malnutrition project in Sanand is in line with this commitment and has shown promising results. Within a span of seven years, we have successfully led 100 per cent of children within the programme into the healthy zone, while enhancing existing awareness around food and nutrition within the community. We hope to continue our labours in this direction, firmly believing that a healthy and happy child is the beacon of a healthy and happy nation.”
Health is one of the primary focus areas within Tata Motors’ CSR programme. Committed to fostering health and well-being within urban and rural communities, Tata Motors’ ‘Aarogya’ seeks to curb malnutrition among children and mothers, in addition to providing remote communities access to clean drinking water. It broadly focuses on cultivating maternal and child health, with a holistic and balanced approach through preventive and curative healthcare interventions. Over the past year alone, it has touched 3,82,888 lives, bringing over 60 per cent of children out of malnourishment.