WASHINGTON, March 30, 2018 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved additional financing of $200 million to fund the National Nutrition Mission and support the Government of India achieve its goal of reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4 percent to 25 percent by the year 2022.
On December 1, 2017, the Government of India announced the new National Nutrition Mission.
A large component of this Mission involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country over a 3-year period. The additional financing approved today will support the first phase scale-up to 315 districts across all states and union territories (UTs).
With a focus on improving the coverage and quality of ICDS nutrition services to pregnant and lactating women and children under 3 years of age, the project will invest in improving the skills and capacities of ICDS staff and community nutrition workers. It will mobilize the community for behavior change communication, strengthen systems of citizen engagement and grievance redress and establish mobile technology based tools for better outreach to beneficiaries during the critical 1,000 day window for nutrition impact.
The project will also ensure convergence of all nutrition related schemes and provide performance based incentives to states and community health workers.
During its first phase, ISSNIP focused on designing and piloting at scale some of these interventions. Since September 2015, it has trained approximately 0.4 million ICDS staff and community nutrition workers on maternal, infant and young child nutrition counselling and reached approximately 29.7 million pregnant and lactating women and children 6-36 months of age through the ICDS services across 162 districts in eight states.
“The National Nutrition Mission is a significant milestone for India, focused on tackling one of the most stubborn development challenges facing the country – malnutrition. It begins even before a child is born; often resulting in mortality and, for those who survive the early years, lower cognitive skills, a greater probability of dropping out of school and a less productive life overall,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “The World Bank is proud to partner with government’s efforts in tackling malnutrition by focusing on the needs of expecting mothers and their children. The success of the Mission will have important lessons for developing nations worldwide”, he added.
Today approximately one-fifth of the children in India are born with low birth-weight, 35.7 percent of children under five are underweight, 38.4 percent are stunted, 21 percent are wasted and 58.4 percent are anemic. Research shows that inappropriate maternal and child feeding and caring practices, exposure to repeated infections, inadequate utilization of health services, and poor sanitation, especially during pregnancy and in the first two years of life, are among the key contributors to malnutrition.
“The restructured ISSNIP has been in implementation for a little over two years,” said Mohini Kak, Health Specialist, World Bank and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project. “Recognizing the value of the interventions and the need to deepen them, the Government of India has mainstreamed these interventions within the recently announced National Nutrition Mission with the objective of taking them to scale in a phased manner through this additional financing,” she added.
The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 19.5 years including a grace period of four years.