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ICT based real-time monitoring of ICDS services is the first step towards eliminating malnutrition: Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

The Ministry of Women and Child Development , Government of India, and the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) today  to provide technical support at the National and State level for strengthening the delivery of nutrition goals, especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and first two years of life. Further, the Gates’ Foundation will support an enhanced framework of collaboration in Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and technical support on nutrition.

The MoC was signed by Shri V. Somasundaran, Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development and Shri Nachiket Mor, Country Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  in the presence of  Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi today.

Improving the health and lives of women and children in India, by strengthening nutrition programsin order to promote their holistic development is one of the topmost priorities of the Government. In sync with this focus, the four priority areas of work as part of this MoC wouldinclude:

Development and deployment of ICT solutions for improving and strengthening

ICDS Service DeliverySystem.

Support Ministry of Women & Child Development in developing a shared nationalcommunications campaign for maternal and child nutrition among target populations.

Provision of technical support for the National Nutrition Mission, Restructured ICDSSystems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and RestructuredICDS through a Technical Support Unit at the national and state level for strengtheningtheir capacities to deliver nutrition especially during pre- conception, pregnancy and firsttwo years of life.

Technical support and Knowledge management support to strengthen human resource capabilities at various  levels  in order to  deliver effective  nutrition interventions.

This collaboration will strengthen the government’s restructured ICDS Systems Strengtheningand  Nutrition Improvement  Project  (ISSNIP) and  National Nutrition Mission, with a focuson technological innovation, sharing best practices and use of data and evidence to enhanceperformance at the national and state level.

Smt Mane ka Sanjay Gandhi, while appreciating the collaboration with the Gates’Foundation, stated that ICT based real-time monitoring of ICDS services is only the first steptowards eliminating malnutrition. The services including the supplementary nutrition providedneeds to be standardized and the Ministry is working towards it, the Minister added.

Commenting on the partnership, Shri V. Somasundaran, Secretary, Ministry of Women andChild Development, Government of India, said, “We recognize the need  to  strengthen ourmaternal and  child  nutrition efforts, while  also  enhancing monitoring and technology leveragedsolutions in improving the service delivery system of ICDS. We are committed to advancing ourgoal of improving maternal and child nutrition in the country, and use of appropriate technologytools that enable the same, and view the Gates Foundation as an active partner in achievingprogress. This MoC will provide an appropriate platform to develop the partnership”.

Mr. Nachiket Mor ,  India  Count r y  Dir e ct or  of  t he  Bill  &  Melinda  Gates Foundation,said, “At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation our vision is for all women and children to have thenutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives so that they can reach their full potential.Placing women and children at the heart of India’s development agenda is critical in ensuringour economic and social progress. Through this MoC we reaffirm our continued commitment topartner the government to achieve its national nutrition goals.”