Children in Telangana
Working together on a multi-dimensional plan to address stunting, wasting and improve breastfeeding practices
The north-western portion of Andhra Pradesh was separated to form the new state of Telangana on 2 June 2014 with Hyderabad as its capital. Telangana consists mostly of hills, mountain ranges, and thick dense forests.
The new state faces a plethora of challenges. With inequities in provision of healthcare in tribal and urban areas and high C-section rates, the state is striving to improve the quality of care particularly provided to women and children.
Stunting and wasting along with sub-optimal infant and young child nutrition with early childhood care and nourishment necessitates a holistic multi-sectoral plan of action following a life cycle approach and an inbuilt 365-degree communication element multi-dimensional plan. Telangana is also battling a ‘triple nutrition’ burden scenario: under nutrition, overweight or obesity and anaemia all affect women and children (including adolescents).
With low access to quality early childhood education and poor learning levels of both boys and girls, the State faces a big challenge in providing quality education for children. Support is also needed in implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
The rural sanitation coverage stands at 100 per cent (Source: Swachh Bharat Mission MIS). However, as per NFHS 5 (2019), only 76.2 per cent population living in households use improved sanitation facility. The state also has created 9362 ODF plus villages (aspirational) and established around 12762 SWM units. Similarly, as per JJM IMIS (as on 9th May 2022) 100 per cent households have access to functional household tap connections.
Child labour, school safety and absence of statutory and non-statutory structures in the newly created districts of Telangana pose a serious threat to protecting children.
Advancing children’s rights and well-being
Advancing children’s rights and well-being
To provide an environment where girls and boys have equal access to and take advantage of quality education services and health facilities.
UNICEF is the lead development partner in the implementation of the government’s flagship health programme - the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Strategy - in two high priority districts: Adilabad and Mahbubnagar.
In addition, support is being given to the state to reduce wasting (weight for height/ length) in its moderate and severe forms and under-nutrition among children through supervised supplementary feeding programme (CMAM) which has preventive (promotion of IYCN) and treatment (management) components to it.
UNICEF also supports Telangana in addressing undernutrition in-utero by strengthening the maternal nutrition component with ANC and effective implementation of Arogya Lakshmi Scheme with early identification and treatment of anaemia among pregnant women.
UNICEF’s work on education seeks to provide a learning environment where girls and boys have equal access to and take advantage of quality education services. It focuses on increasing hygiene awareness, supporting the state in its efforts to eliminate open defecation and ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water. In Telangana, UNICEF’s education program aims to work closely with the departments of education, WCD, the Village and Ward Secretariat, among others, to bring parents, teachers and local communities together to create an enabling environment for the education and development of the young child.
UNICEF will advocate for policies and programs that are relevant and needed, as well as demonstrate results on the ground for the government to consider. Further also works to ensure strict enforcement of laws to protect children from hazardous labour, child marriage, trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.
We are supporting the government towards improving the quality of both maternal and newborn care by standardizing labour rooms and setting up state-of-the art Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) in government hospitals. Kangaroo Mother Care (KMCs) were also scaled up across the state.
UNICEF supports Telangana in improving its immunization coverage and strengthen the cold chain management system. To eliminate measles and control rubella, UNICEF provided support in the launch of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccines. It also supported in the launch of Pentavalent and Inactivated Polio (IPV) vaccine.
Working along with the State AIDS control society, UNICEF has been successful in rolling out a more efficacious multi-drug regimen for The Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) for HIV positive pregnant women linked to Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART). Universal testing services and treatment of HIV positive pregnant women along with tracking and testing of newborns is being done.
UNICEF is committed to improve the lives of undernourished children in the state. The focus is on reducing the number of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) children though collaborative action on capacity building and standardization of SAM case sheets.
Strengthening the delivery of complementary foods coupled with Early Childhood Development through Annaprashan and other community-based platforms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a key priority of our work in the State, which is adopted by state as a flagship called Alana Palana. The focus of this flagship is also to address the role of fathers in providing care to children and integrating play therapy with nutrition for better physical and cognitive development. The focus is also on strengthening the reach and quality of micro-nutrient supplementation programmes for adolescent girls and women.
Helping the government to strengthen growth monitoring mechanisms, a SMART dashboard was developed for routine monitoring of the nutritional status across the state. This is now extended as a near real time tool being used by front line functionaries for reporting and monitoring.
UNICEF supports systematic capacity building to implement child-friendly teaching methods. It is supporting the State Institute of Educational Management and Training and State council of Educational Research and Training. Interactive digital content has been developed to enhance the classroom experience and UNICEF promotes alternative elementary education system which is flexible.
Early Childhood Education polices and curriculum with implementation frameworks and support for roll-out of inclusive education for children in the age group of 2.5-6 has been done. The Aarambh Inclusive package, a first-of-its-kind guides teaching. UNICEF also focuses on strengthening social protection schemes that enable parents to send their children to school.
UNICEF provides technical assistance to the government for improving WASH facilities and services across the state. It builds capacities of state and district officials for effective implementation of Swacch Bharat Mission (Grameen). The focus is on incorporating social behaviour change and communication approaches to achieve sanitation goals. UNICEF is creating a pool of master trainers in districts and through them reach out blocks and gram panchayats for the creation of sustainable open defecation free plus communities.
Across the state we support the strengthening of child protection units through the government’s Integrated Child Protection Services (ICPS). We build capacities for effective implementation of the child protection programme by Child Welfare Committees, Special Juvenile Police, Juvenile Justice Boards and District Child Protection Units. To prevent abuse and exploitation of children, UNICEF works to form and strengthen Child Protection Committees.
UNICEF has expanded partnerships with the Government to strengthen public finance mechanisms to secure the fiscal space for children; and social protection schemes to make social programmes shock responsive, inclusive and gender transformative to recognize the right of every child as a part of its inclusive social policy programmes. Last year, we are also supporting 100 gram panchayats to implement child friendly local governance and monitoring for sustainable development goals.
In relation to the Disaster Management in the State, the XV Finance Commission recommendations, if implemented effectively, it could address many of resilience actions in the State. The work on Common Alert Protocol, SEOC and Apda Mitra to be implemented in right earnest, for which our advocacy and lobbying is essential. The Civil Society networks is being strengthened to address humanitarian response both for urban, rural, and tribal context.
The efforts are on two-fold, Risk Governance, capacity building and humanitarian response. Risks from urban flooding and heatwave are major hazard events. In relation to health pandemic, preparations are required at community level to address the problems.
Climate change is another area of concern, as it is impacting many sectors and children in terms of health, education, and wellbeing.