UNICEF in Action(Chhattisgarh)

UNICEF  is playing a significant role in the implementation of maternal and child health interventions in Chhattisgarh by building and strengthening partnerships with medical colleges and other technical institutes. To effectively reduce the Infant Mortality Rate, both components of child health – community and institution-based care – need to be developed simultaneously.

Anaemia continues to be one of the key challenges contributing to the state’s maternal and neonatal mortality in the antenatal and the postnatal care period. UNICEF has begun strengthening the quality of Antenatal Care (ANC) services undertaken by Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) by providing ANC kits with the introduction of haemoglobin colour scales and a four-day training package for ANMs in the high priority districts. This is now being scaled up to all districts.

UNICEF is also working towards strengthening Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHND), including routine immunization services and ensuring outreach services to underserved and hard-to-reach areas. It has supported the Chhattisgarh government in setting up Special Care Newborn Units (SCNUs) that provide state-of-the-art care for newborns in Raipur, Durg and Rajnandgaon districts.

In order to comprehensively address the issue of undernutrition, it is necessary to look at the continuum of care across the life cycle of the child and across the spectrum of platforms that are available to deliver the state’s essential nutrition interventions.

The NCERT National Achievement Survey of 2012-13 of Class 3 children in Chhattisgarh shows that Chhattisgarh is ranked last in the country in both language and mathematics. While these findings must be considered in the context of the state’s linguistic diversity –  with nearly a third of the population belonging to indigenous tribal groups – this places an additional challenge on the education system in fostering enabling learning environments for all children at school.

Another focus for UNICEF in the state has been to strengthen advocacy efforts and technical support for multi-sectoral and collaborative actions that address undernutrition and to roll out nutrition-specific interventions, especially for the state’s hard-to-reach and marginalized populations .

UNICEF initiatives include:

Child Survival

  • Promoting Facility Based Newborn Care (FBNC) for all sick newborns through capacity-building of doctors and nurses to handle such cases.
  • Initiating the Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness (IMNCI)programme at Narayanpur district in collaboration with Jagdalpur Medical College and subsequently expanding it to another eight districts.
  • Increasing the use of Oral Rehydration Salts and zinc to manage diarrhoea.
  • Strengthening water and sanitation services and implementing a Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme in Narayanpur district, an area undergoing civil strife.
  • Implementing a Health Day Strategy in conflict areas has been a priority in the state.


  • Supporting the Department of Woman and Child Development to implement the Nawa Jatan programme to address malnutrition in the state.
  • Assisting the government to roll out various nutrition-specific interventions and programmes at scale through provision of quality technical support in capacity-building.
  • Operating three Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres and Infant and Young Child Feeding counselling in Narayanpur district.
  • Ensuring delivery of basic services and critical community extension services like maternal and child health care through ICDS and health services in Left Wing Extremism-affected areas in Narayanpur district.


  • Sports for Development (S4D) in collaboration with the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) is about incorporating sports in the learning process for a holistic development of the child. The S4D initiative is now being integrated in 10,000 primary schools in 11 districts.
  • A school leadership programme in partnership with SCERT and Azim Premji Foundation was established in 185 schools to demonstrate school-based change by developing leadership in head teachers.
  • Introduced school libraries to improve children’s learning through the Narayanpur district pilot project, showing that libraries can make a significant difference in improving reading abilities in primary school students.

Child Protection

  • In partnership with the Social Welfare Department, UNICEF conducted an assessment of the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act through a study of juvenile homes in seven districts.
  • Supported the government in implementing the ICPS scheme to address critical child protection issues such as trafficking of girls in Jashpur district; child marriage prevention in Rajnandgaon and Kawardha districts;and programmes on child labour and strengthening residential institutions in civil strife areas in Dantewada and Sukma districts.
  • UNICEF has been supporting the capacity development of key stakeholders on ICPS and JJ Act in select districts such as Jashpur, Dantewada, Raipur and Sarguja.
  • Focusing on creating a safe and protective environment for children living in institutions. A wide range of residential institutions like JJ homes (including orphanages) and residential schools (e.g. KGBVs, Ashram Shalas, Hostels, Porta Cabins, etc.) house hundreds of children across the state.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • UNICEF is involved in creating models of sanitation facilities such as the toilets in schools and Anganwadis (government health and day care centres).
  • Supporting training on sanitation and hygiene practices for teachers, master trainers and school management committees. Master trainers have been trained on menstrual hygiene management to impart learning to adolescent girls residing in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya.
  • UNICEF has piloted Community Approaches to the Total Sanitation Model (CATS) in Churia block of Rajnandgaon district. The approach includes sensitizing the community on the adverse effects of open defecation and encouraging them to build and use toilets.
  • With the support of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, revised Mid-Day Meal guidelines regarding handwashing with soap before children eat their meals.
  • Water security planning and community management of water supply have also been piloted in excluded tribal areas. Community participation for usage of small-scale water treatment units are being demonstrated.
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