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Aims: Evaluation of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program in the vale of Kashmir in terms of status of Anganwadi workers, facilities at Anganwadi centers, delivery of services to beneficiaries including children, pregnant women, lactating women and adolescent girls.
Study Design: Study based on facility at Anganwadi centers.
Place and Duration of Study: The present study was conducted by visiting Anganwadi centers in Kashmir Division of Jammu and Kashmir during the year 2017-2018.
Methodology: The valley of Kashmir was divided into three zones; North Kashmir comprising of three districts Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Central Kashmir comprising of three districts Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam and South Kashmir comprising of four districts Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian. Lottery method was used to select two districts for each zone. Through multistage sampling a total of 48 anganwadi centers were evaluated.
Results: The coverage of supplementary nutrition was almost complete for all the beneficiaries. All the other services were not delivered properly. 31.51% children reported to receive pre-school education, 13.54% reported of having had health check-ups and 1.82% reported of being immunized at anganwadi centre (AWC). 94.79% of the pregnant and lactating women are covered under supplementary nutrition. Immunization and health check-ups were not available for pregnant and lactating women, however, 53.3% received iron and folic acid (IFA) tablets and 4.17% were provided with referral services. 71.53% of adolescent girls received IFA tablets. Health check-ups and basic skills programmes were not conducted for adolescent girls, however, 5.56% were provided with referral services.
Conclusion: The performance of ICDS in Kashmir in terms of coverage is very low and almost all the services except supplementary nutrition are not delivered properly. There are many reasons for the underperformance of the scheme including socio-economic and other aspects of the grassroot workers including anganwadi workers (AWWs) and anganwadi helpers (AWHs), inadequacy of equipment for proper implementation, undesirable condition of AWCs, lack of professionalism in implementing staff, lack of co-ordination between AWCs and other associated personals like Lady Health Visitor (LHV)/Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM). In Kashmir the political environment makes the implementation of ICDS scheme even more complicated and difficult. A realignment is the need of hour and the state government must identify the specific problems faced by the scheme and convey them to all the stake holders so that a better and modified version of the scheme is implemented.