Bhubaneswar: Nearly after one year, the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) across the State will reopen from March 28. The Department of Women & Child Development has taken this decision.
Director, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) & Social Welfare (SW) Aravind Agrawal has issued an SOP to all Collectors for this purpose on Wednesday.
The Anganwadi Centres in the State were closed from April 19, 2021 due to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, ration, in lieu of Hot Cook Meals (HCMs) and eggs were given to the Anganwadi children of the age group 3-6 years at their doorsteps.
Take Home Ration (THR) and eggs for children of the age group 6 months to 3 years and pregnant & nursing women, on the other hand, was also delivered at the doorsteps.
However, taking the present situation into account, it has been decided to open all AWCs in the state with effect from March 28, 2022 except in those AWCs where district administration decides otherwise depending on the local situation, Agrawal said.
If COVID cases are detected in future, in any GP, district administration may also close down all the AWCs of that GP forthwith; ensure isolation and other protocols for the beneficiary so affected under intimation to this office, he said.
Therefore, the Collectors were requested to reopen all such AWCs in the State and continue operating all Anganwadi services, including Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) as per the SOP.
The SOP says the AWCs will be kept open from 7.30 AM to 9.30 AM, 25 days a month. Morning snacks and hot cook meals will be served to the preschoolers (3-6 years) in such a way that the sitting arrangement ensures a social distance amongst children.
However, ration, in lieu of HCMs and eggs will be given to the Anganwadi children at their doorsteps in case of children who are not able to attend AWC due to COVID or some other problem or on closure of AWC, it said.
Preschool education will be resumed as per Nua Arunima curriculum at the AWCs and outdoor activities will be promoted. However, Ghare Ghare Arunima and Kuni calendar continue for parent-led ECCE activities at home.
All other Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS) such as immunization, health checkups, referrals and Nutrition & Health Education (NHEd) will continue as it is.
In order to ensure that all these activities are taken up, in adherence to Covid-19 protocols, the Department has put a mechanism in place:
The Collectors have been advised to ensure cleanliness and properly disinfected & sanitized at Anganwadi premises prior to reopening.
The hand wash facility must be at the entrance with soaps, water and sanitizers. Anyone entering AWC must sanitize hands before entering the center, it said.
Children must be motivated to wash hands for 20 seconds singing Aji Mo Janama Dina in order to keep them enthused in the process. Doors and windows of the AWC must be kept open for proper air circulation. Frequently touched surfaces and sitting & cooking areas must be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals, says the SOP.
The Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)/Helpers (AWHs), children and everyone who is visiting AWC must have to wear face masks and maintain social distance for the entire period of stay in AWCs.
The Government advised to restrict entry of outsiders into AWCs. The AWW, AWH, parents, mothers, adolescent girls or Anganwadi children, with ILI and SARI like symptoms, must be requested to not to visit AWC. Persons above 65 years are also advised not to visit AWCs.
Pregnant and nursing women to come to the AWCs for availing ICDS services. Weekly dose of IFA supplementation and ADVIKA activities for out of school Adolescent girls (10-19 years) will be done during Kishori Diwas every Saturday at the AWCs. Activities regarding Sakhi Saheli will continue.
“Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained at all times, particularly while having a sitting arrangement of children, taking up activities with them, serving food and holding other ICDS activities. Food hygiene protocols must be strictly adhered to while cooking & serving meals,” said the Department.
All AWWs/AWHs should have been fully vaccinated before attending the AWCs. If anyone is not vaccinated, the Collectors have been asked to take steps to vaccinate them immediately. In case of willful failure to avail the vaccine, action as deemed proper will be initiated against them. Messages on prevention of Covid-19 will also be displayed at all AWCs.