Abstract of Dissertation

Keyword : ICDS; Nutrition Improvement Program; Pregnant Women; Lactating Women; Awareness of Community Based Event

Objective : Maternal and child caring and feeding behaviors are paramount determinants of under-nutrition. To reduce under- nutrition, it is essential to escalate the awareness of care givers and community members on maternal care and nutritional needs of children. Platforms for providing certain key messages and building community support to enable the practice of related behaviors in order to improve nutrition needs to be created. The primary focus of community-based events is to capitalize on traditional celebrations of milestones in the mother’s or a child’s life beginning with conception, prenatal, neonatal and first three years, and use these as opportunities to promote the adoption of positive behaviors at crucial stages of life. The aim of the study was to check the awareness of the community-based events under the ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Programs. This was a qualitative study conducted in four states of India under ISSNIP. The main focus of the study was to know about the perspective of family members and community about the community-based events (Godhbharai, Annprashan) and to understand the effectiveness of these events. The data was collected through focused group discussions. A poor level of participation was noted in these events amongst the family members of pregnant and lactating women. Although very limited awareness about the objectives of the community-based events was found, the information imparted by the Anganwadi workers has had a significant impact on the dietary and general care patterns of these families. The pregnant women and their mothers-in-law have made appropriate changes in their family dietary patterns to incorporate more nutritious foods for the mother during pregnancy and lactation.