Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) today to provide technical support at the National and State level for strengthening the delivery of nutrition goals, especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and first two years of life.
Further, the Gates’ Foundation will support an enhanced framework of collaboration in Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and technical support on nutrition.
The MoC was signed by V Somasundaran, Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development and Nachiket Mor, Country Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the presence of Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi.
Improving the health and lives of women and children in India, by strengthening nutrition programs in order to promote their holistic development is one of the topmost priorities of the Government. In sync with this focus, the four priority areas of work as part of this MoC would include 1. Development and deployment of ICT solutions for improving and strengthening. 2. ICDS Service Delivery System.3. Support in developing a shared national communications campaign for maternal and child nutrition 4. Provision of technical support for the National Nutrition Mission(NNM), Restructured ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and Restructured ICDS.
The collaboration will strengthen the government’s restructured ICDS Systems, ISSNIP and NNM, with a focus on technological innovation, sharing best practices and use of data and evidence to enhance performance at the national and state level.
Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that ICT based real-time monitoring of ICDS services is only the first step towards eliminating malnutrition. The services including the supplementary nutrition provided needs to be standardized and the Ministry is working towards it, the Minister added.
“We recognize the need to strengthen our maternal and child nutrition efforts, while also enhancing monitoring and technology leveraged solutions in improving the service delivery system of ICDS,” Somasundaran said.
“ We are committed to advancing our goal of improving maternal and child nutrition in the country, and use of appropriate technology tools that enable the same, and view the Gates Foundation as an active partner in achieving progress. This MoC will provide an appropriate platform to develop the partnership,” he added.
According to Nachiket Mor, the Melinda Gates Foundation’s vision is for all women and children to have the nutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives so that they can reach their full potential.
“Placing women and children at the heart of India’s development agenda is critical in ensuring our economic and social progress. Through this MoC we reaffirm our continued commitment to partner the government to achieve its national nutrition goals,” he added.