UNICEF India Country Office Annual Report 2011
The gains made in 2011 have been significant. India is close to making history by stopping the transmission of wild poliovirus. There have been no reported cases of wild poliovirus for more than 12 months concurrently in 2011.
UNICEF helped government‟s flagship programmes – the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scale up the adolescent anaemia control programme with government funds in 13 states. This reaches 21.4 million adolescent girls with iron and folic acid supplements weekly, deworming prophylaxis biannually, and counselling to improve their diets and prevent anaemia.
Advocacy has led to a strategic shift in the Total Sanitation Campaign guidelines to focus on sustained use of sanitation facilities. This carries significance as an estimated 19.7 million of the rural population are abandoning open defecation each year and using sanitation facilities1.
Significant also, was UNICEF‟s engagement with government at national and state level, civil society, international agencies and donors to develop the draft Government of India (GoI)-UNICEF Country Programme Document for 2013-2017. To inform this process, a comprehensive situation analysis of children and women was published.
The UN Country Team also developed an innovative United Nations Development Action Framework (UNDAF) for the next five year period. Both documents hinge on GoI‟s aspiration to bring about more inclusive development and addressing inequality, with a special focus on the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and minorities.
Much remains to be done in influencing social norms to change deeply entrenched behaviours which are detrimental to child well-being, ranging from child marriage to poor nutritional practices or open defecation. National flagship programmes have to dig deeper into the root causes of such behaviours and respond with appropriate messages.
A significant challenge continues to be human resources and limited capacity. The national flagship programmes face vacancies, absenteeism and staff turnover. While frontline workers provide essential services, they are often not adequately trained or supervised to perform their duties and trainings often fail to transfer essential skills effectively. This, in turn, affects spending of social sector outlays with funds remaining unutilised.
Polio eradication efforts are a tremendously inspiring story of a true partnership: between GoI, state governments, World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CORE, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and UNICEF.
India‟s success in fighting polio is a result of joint efforts by these partners. At the heart of the effort is the Social Mobilization Network (SMNet), a 7,000-strong volunteer force – mostly Muslim women – who deliver life-saving messages to India‟s poorest, most at-risk communities.
Partnerships with key donors have also contributed to notable results. The partnership with IKEA Foundation has helped deliver tangible benefits to the realisation of child rights, in health, nutrition, child protection and water and sanitation.
A renewed partnership with the United Kingdom‟s Department for International Development (DFID) has enhanced programme convergence and evidence-based interventions in the areas health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and strengthening data and monitoring systems.
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