Indian Journal of Public Health

SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year
: 2010  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33--35

Awareness and perception of mothers about functioning and different services of ICDS in two districts of West Bengal


Akhil Bandhu Biswas1, Dilip Kumar Das2, Rabindra Nath Roy3, Indranil Saha4, Prabha Shrivastava4, Kaninika Mitra5,  
1 Professor, Community Medicine, B. S. Medical College, Bankura, India
2 Associate Professor, R. G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata, India
3 Assistant Professor, Community Medicine, Burdwan Medical College, West Bengal, India
4 Assistant Professor, Community Medicine, R. G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata, India
5 Health and HIV Specialist, UNICEF, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Indranil Saha
Assistant Professor, Community Medicine, R. G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata
India

Abstract

Integrated Child Development Services, a national programme of the Government of India has health, nutrition, and pre-school education components of services. To ascertain awareness, perception of mothers about functioning and different services of ICDS a cross-sectional community based study was conducted between June to September 2007 in Howrah and Purulia districts of West Bengal. A total of 1235 mothers were included as study subjects. As per opinion of the mothers 73% AWCs opened regularly, behaviour of the AWWs was friendly (71.6%) and 63% mothers opined that ICDS is beneficial to their children. 84.2% mothers were aware of any ICDS services. Quantity and quality of supplementary food was acceptable to 88% and 72.7% mothers respectively. 79.2% and 87.5% mothers did not receive any advice on child feeding and growth chart. Making beneficiaries aware about services by targeted interventions will ensure better utilization of ICDS.



How to cite this article:
Biswas AB, Das DK, Roy RN, Saha I, Shrivastava P, Mitra K. Awareness and perception of mothers about functioning and different services of ICDS in two districts of West Bengal.Indian J Public Health 2010;54:33-35


How to cite this URL:
Biswas AB, Das DK, Roy RN, Saha I, Shrivastava P, Mitra K. Awareness and perception of mothers about functioning and different services of ICDS in two districts of West Bengal. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2010 [cited 2019 Sep 18 ];54:33-35
Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2010/54/1/33/70549


Full Text

Integrated child development services (ICDS) scheme, initiated in 1975, continues to be the world's most unique early childhood development programme. It comprehensively offered an integrated package of services to address the basic need of children below 6 years, adolescent girls and mothers from disadvantaged community since last three decades. Government of India in the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare has initiated the processes of redesigning the programme for reimplementation of ICDS with the objectives of "ICDS universalization of quality in the 11 th planning" [1] . But awareness, involvement and participation of the mothers, along with other categories of beneficiaries are far less than it was emphasized previously [2],[3],[4] . In this context, we report awareness, perception and opinion of mothers of two different districts of West Bengal, about the functioning and different services of ICDS provided to them.

A cross sectional, descriptive study was conducted in two selected districts i.e. Purulia and Howrah of West Bengal from June to September 2007. It was a part of a larger study. Purulia being the focus district of UNICEF was included in the study and the other district Howrah was selected on the basis of favourable weighing efficiency and malnutrition data as per ICDS reports. The list of all rural ICDS projects, which were functioning for at least three years in both the districts of Purulia and Howrah, were obtained from the office of the respective District Project Officer (DPO) and two such projects from each district were selected randomly i.e. a total of 4 rural ICDS projects were included in the study (Amta -1 and Domjor projects in Howrah district and Puncha and Balarampur projects in Purulia district). Five anganwadi centres (AWC) from each of the identified projects were selected randomly. Thus we included 10 AWCs from Howrah and 10 from Purulia with a total of 20 AWCs for the present study. All the households from these 20 AWCs were the final unit of study in our assessment.

All the houses in each AWCs were visited to identify the study subjects (pregnant and lactating mothers as well as the mothers of the child beneficiaries) and it was decided to include only one respondent from each beneficiary family. Trained investigators comprising of faculty members and internees of R. G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata interviewed the respondents using a pre-designed, pre-tested schedule. Coordinators monitored, supervised & cross-checked the data collection procedure at the field level. Data was entered in excel sheet and proportion was computed. Difference between two proportions was analyzed by z test.

Overall 3581 families (2151 in Howrah, 1430 in Purulia) were surveyed with a total population of 17171 (10,308 and 6863 in Howrah and Purulia district respectively). Of these, 1497 families were with any beneficiary in both districts together (867 in Howrah and 630 in Purulia). Finally we could interview 743 and 492 respondents in Howrah and Purulia districts respectively, with a total of 1235 (overall response rate - 82.5%).

As per opinion of the mothers 73% AWCs opened regularly, behaviour of the AWWs was friendly (71.6%) and 63% mothers opined that ICDS is beneficial to their children.

Further analysis showed the proportions were higher in Howrah as compared to Purulia. Overall 84.2% mothers were aware of any ICDS services (Purulia vs. Howrah - 88.2% vs. 81.6%, z = 3.04, P < 0.05) and of them 78.3% were aware about supplementary nutrition (SNP); very few mothers knew about pre school education (PSE) in Purulia (21.7%), & growth monitoring in Howrah (31.1%) [Table 1].{Table 1}

In both districts combined, most of the mothers opined that quantity of SNP was adequate (88%) and of acceptable quality (72.7%); however, the proportions were significantly better (P < 0.05) in Howrah district. Major reasons for non acceptability of SNP were improper cooking (45.9%) followed by poor quality material (44.7%). Cooked food was preferred most (59.9%) by the mothers in contrast to raw (24.5%) and ready to eat (16.3%) food. However, preference for cooked food was more in Howrah than Purulia (66.3% vs. 48.9%, z = 5.26, P <0.05). Advising mothers on child feeding practices and discussing the growth chart although are very important activities of AWW, yet majority of the mothers were deprived of these services (79.2% and 87.5% respectively). Overall less than half of the mothers (41.6%) believed that PSE could benefit their child, situation being worse in Purulia (19.2%) as compared to 56.5% in Howrah (z = 10.39, P <0.05) [Table 2].{Table 2}

In the present study, approximately two third mothers opined about beneficial effects on children from anganwadi centre, which is consistent with FOCUS survey that reported 72% of mothers considered ICDS to be 'important' for their child's welfare [3] . FOCUS survey in Uttar Pradesh also reported that a day in the life of a typical anganwadi is little more than a brief ritual, involving distribution of a bland, monotonous 'ready to eat', mixture to the children and some hasty filling - or fudging of registers [3] , which has also been documented from the present study; only few mothers knew about growth monitoring and PSE in both the districts. FOCUS survey observed that only one fifth of mothers of Howrah and Purulia respectively had received any advice on infant feeding from AWW [3] . 88% and 72.7% mothers opined favourably about quantity and quality of SNP in present study. Similar findings has also been noted in the 'active states' (Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), where overwhelming majority of mothers were satisfied with both quality and quantity of SNP food. In contrast, complaints were common on both components in other states. In Uttar Pradesh, as far as SNP is concerned more than half of sample mothers were dissatisfied with the quality of SNP food and more than two thirds women said that the quantity was inadequate. Majority of the mothers were in favour of cooked food, similar to the present study as well as FOCUS survey [3] .

In the present study, overall less than half of the mothers (41.6%) believed that PSE could benefit their child, situation being worst in Purulia. In contrast, more than 70% of respondents would like to see their children to be enrolled as reported by FOCUS survey [3] ; reason being, child will learn and also socialize with other children at anganwadi. A study by National Council for Applied Economic Research has shown that in most anganwadis there was lack of pre school education kits and health and nutrition education materials, only 30% of children were observed to have growth monitoring and only 60% were enrolled for preschool education [5] . These deficiencies are mostly due to lack of awareness of the mothers, as well as lack of involvement of the AWW's in delegating those services to the community, might be due to overburdened work.

In short, mothers were not sure whether ICDS was beneficial or not. Moreover different services provided were unknown to them. At first and foremost, awareness of different services must be addressed and ensured properly. Different components of services also need to be addressed separately to respective beneficiaries. Moreover training of AWW's regarding equal importance of implementation of all the services of ICDS should be emphasized like regular weighing, pre school education etc.

 Acknowledgement



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by UNICEF, Kolkata. The support and cooperation rendered by the Department of Health and Family Welfare as well as Department of Social Welfare in conduct of the study is also hereby acknowledged. Thanks are also due to the district project officers of ICDS, Howrah and Purulia for their kind support. We also thank our faculty members and internees for their heartfelt contribution.

References

1Anganwadis For All: A Primer December 2007. Available from: http://www.righttofoodindia.org [last accessed on 2008 Aug 11].
2Viswanathan B. Household Food Security and Integrated Child Development Services in India. A report prepared as part of collaborative study by Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington on Food Security At Household Level in India; February 2003; Available from: http://www.righttofoodindia.org [last accessed on 2008 Aug 11].
3Focus On Children Under Six - abridged report, December 2006; Citizen Initiative for the Rights of Children Under Six; Available from: http://www.righttofoodindia.org [last accessed on 2008 Aug 11].
4NIPCCD - National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development. National Evaluation of Integrated Child Development Services, New Delhi, 1992.
5Concurrent Evaluation of ICDS, National Report, Vol. I, June 2001, National Council for Applied Economic Research, Parisila Bhawan, IP Estate, New Delhi.