UNICEF in Action(Madhya Pradesh)

The focus of UNICEF’s Child Survival programme in Madhya Pradesh (MP) is on strengthening support for the state’s health systems and institutions in order that they can implement new and improve the quality of existing key maternal, newborn and child health interventions as planned in the National Health Mission (NHM)and National Health Policy (NHP).

Over recent years, with UNICEF’s support, the state Health Mission has continually strengthened the coverage and outreach of health services to the most marginalized through key initiatives such as strengthening Special New Born Care Units (SNCUs), Janani Express Yojana (JEY) and Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). In coming years, UNICEF will focus its support on enhancing the quality of health services by capacity-building workers in the sector and strengthening monitoring and review mechanisms.

To further strengthen quality of care, UNICEF will also focus on Infection Control and Management through joint assessment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities in conjunction with the organization’s WASH section. UNICEF will further focus on reducing child mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea and pneumonia by strengthening health systems, building the capacity of frontline workers, monitoring the availability of essential commodities.

UNICEF initiatives include:

Child Survival

  • To address Madhya Pradesh’s status as having the highest Infant Mortality Rate and fourth-highest Maternal Mortality Rate in the country, UNICEF has worked with district health societies and the government in piloting the Guna Model of continuum of care in Guna district.
  • This care is backed up by the provision of 24X7 quality care by skilled workers at health facilities through Special New Born Care Units (SNCUs), Model Maternity Wings (MMWs), Under 5 Special Care units and 24X7 sub-centres in remote areas.
  • It also includes the follow up of discharged infants from SNCUs by implementing a tracking and monitoring software and linking them to home-based newborn care.
  • In coming years, initiatives are planned to strengthen Routine Immunization through the introduction of the Pentavalent vaccine, monitoring of cold chain and vaccine logistics and building capacity of health workers.
  • UNICEF will continue to provide technical support to strengthen early referral and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhoea among children aged under five years.
  • UNICEF will also continue to strengthen and monitor the quality of maternal and newborn care through MMWs and accreditation of training sites for Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) in the next few years.
  • UNICEF will continue to advocate for and monitor the availability of essential commodities like Pentavalent vaccine, oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc supplies, vitamin K and Gentamycin injections, antenatal cortico steroids up to the sub-district level under Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) programmes in High Priority Districts.


  • Evidence-based Advocacy: Using the platform of flagship programmes and missions, the focus remains on evidence-based advocacy in leveraging nutrition results for children. This will be done through prioritization of 10 essential nutrition interventions for young children and adolescent girls in annual state programme implementation plans and budgets.
  • Capacity Development at Institutional Level: This involves developing the service delivery capacities of two major flagship programmes - NRHM and the ICDS, the Government’s flagship programmes to improve survival, growth and development outcomes of children and their mothers in rural and urban areas, focusing on the most marginalized families and communities. ICDS and NRHM will deliver 10 essential nutrition interventions by improved convergence mechanisms and building their internal capacities.
  • Partnerships: Efforts are being directed towards expanding and consolidating partnerships beyond ICDS and NHM programmes – for example with academic institutes, medical colleges, NGOs and the private sector – to create a strong service delivery platform for increased and sustained demand as well as for monitoring and utilization of essential nutrition services and practices.
  • Knowledge Management: This involves strengthening the ICDS and NHM programme information systems to collect relevant data on coverage, quality and equity of nutrition service delivery systems for children. The focus is on strengthening the use of such data for evidence-based advocacy, policy development and improved performance of the two programmes.
  • Decentralization and Improved Governance: This includes support to the government in convergent and decentralized district planning, implementation and monitoring in selected high burden districts and blocks in MP.
  • Social Inclusion for Equity: Special focus is on social inclusion-for-equity bottleneck analysis, particularly in most deprived and socially excluded communities, which will help UNICEF in identifying and prioritizing bottlenecks to be removed through its contribution.


  • In government residential schools for girls at elementary level, UNICEF has supported the introduction of sports programmes to develop critical life skills amongst girls.
  • Support has been provided to the government in training school headmasters in leadership skills.
  • A key focus in 2013 was media advocacy on the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • Capacity-building of government officials in using District Information System for Education (DISE) data to monitor RTE indicators has been undertaken. The programme aims to strengthen the overall quality of education in elementary schools.

Child Protection

  • UNICEF is strengthening child protection structures such as Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) through capacity-building, coordination meetings and developing monitoring frameworks for accountability.
  • Accelerating the set-up of programmes under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) at the state, district and sub-district levels, enhancing capacity in the area of child protection and developing monitoring frameworks for their effective functioning.
  • Facilitation in the setting up of an appropriate Management Information System (MIS) on child protection, and strengthening the state’s capacities in generating relevant data and evidence for planning, reporting and advocacy, particularly “child track”.  
  • Strengthening child-friendly policing in the state to ensure protection of all children, including enhancing the functioning of Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs), Child Welfare Officers (CWOs) and Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) as well as developing appropriate indictors for continuous monitoring and documenting success stories.
  • Creating models and advocating with the state to establish safe spaces for children, including community-based Child Protection Structures such as Child Protection Committees and Adolescent Networks to prevent and monitor child rights violations in the community.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • The Madhya Pradesh government has adopted the demand-based approach to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and also has developed Maryada guidelines based on the Sanitation Hygiene Advocacy Communication Strategy (SHACS), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)/Community Approach to Sanitation (CATS) experiences with technical support from UNICEF in MP. Maryada guidelines have been implemented by state with recruitment and training of Swachchhata doots (sanitation workers) and development of tools/materials for them. SHACS implementation has started in all districts on the principles of CATS.
  • The WASH programme supports government flagship schemes on water and sanitation, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) and National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), to ensure equitable and sustainable access to and use of safe water and basic sanitation services to women and children, with particular emphasis on hard-to-reach and marginalized rural communities. The programme’s primary objectives are to accelerate the elimination of Open Defecation, to improve the availability of safe drinking water, its management, conservation and equitable allocation, as well as access to mainstream key hygiene behaviours, especially handwashing with soap at critical times in communities and institutions, line schools and Anganwadis.

Disaster Risk Reduction

  • UNICEF implemented the Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) project in more than 250 villages. This project is helping strengthen community coping mechanisms through capacity-building at the grass roots level. A village contingency plan (VCP) through community participation and District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP) were made, which in turn, are used to develop an Action Plan for Disaster Preparedness (APDD).
  • UNICEF works in partnership with the state's Disaster Management Institute (DMI) to establish an institutional mechanism of response and develop protocol and promote accountability of information-sharing on funding, pre-positioning, early warning, response, preparedness and other related issues.  
  • UNICEF is also working with the DMI to include a Disaster Risk Reduction approach in development planning processes. Towards this aim, sectoral trainings involving UNICEF experts from WASH, Health, Child Development and Nutrition, Child Protection, Education and Communication were organized in 2012 for government officials and NGO partners.
  • Through DMI, an Inter-Agency Group (IAG) has been constituted and trained in DRR and mapping resources and training need assessment to implement community-centred DRR plans.
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