( December 26, 2019 )
Malnutrition has been a big concern in one of the largest milk-producing districts of Asia. However for over a year now, Smile Foundation has been successfully working in Banaskantha to fight against anaemia, malnutrition among adolescent girls.
Under the programme, the foundation has been supplying a unique ‘nutritious laddoo’ who’s recipe has been created by Chef Vikas Khanna.
“More than 70 per cent of the 1,000 girls covered under the project have experienced tremendous improvement in haemoglobin levels as well as the BMI status, leading to improved health and nutrition levels. The programme has a footprint across 10 villages in Palanpur, touching the lives of more than 1,000 beneficiaries,” said Shantanu Mishra, co-founder, Smile Foundation.
Under the initiative named Sampoorna, a total of 15,000 laddoos were distributed to girls over 10 months. The laddoos were given twice a week and had to be consumed at the centre itself.
This was supplemented with iron and folic acid tablets at periodic intervals. Besides, many knowledge enhancement activities were conducted among girls and the community about food and nutrition like kitchen gardening, which underlined the importance of healthy eating habits and a balanced diet.
“A baseline study conducted in the region by Smile Foundation to assess the nutritional status of adolescent girls (14 to 19 years), revealed that 78 per cent of adolescent girls are anaemic (varying from mild to severe), a much higher percentage than the national average of 50.3 per cent,” Mishra said.
Chef Khanna who came up with the recipe of the laddoo has used locally available ingredients like jaggery, sesame seeds and maize flour to develop an easy to make and low-cost supplement that helped the girls improve their iron levels.
The project is in alignment with the government’s Poshiyan Abhiyan and Anaemia Mukt Bharat initiative that endeavours to reduce the prevalence of anaemia by 3 per cent points per year between 2018 and 2022.