Lucknow: Canada’s Micronutrient Initiative (MI) will invest (Canadian) $5.5 million (around Rs 28 crore) over the next five years in Uttar Pradesh to improve the nutritional status and health of over 17 million women, children and adolescent girls in the state, it was announced on Friday.
The announcement came at ‘Ek Sahi Shuruat’ — an initiative inaugurated here on Friday by Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav, who is wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Supported by the Canadian government, the initiative will deliver cutting-edge health and nutrition interventions through existing government programmes, leveraging their distribution channels to achieve optimal reach and coverage.
“We believe this partnership will have a tremendous impact on the future of Uttar Pradesh, because when you break the cycle of malnutrition, you can break the cycle of poverty,” said MI president and CEO Joel Spicer.
“This will empower millions of women and children, paving the way for a new generation of healthy and productive people, which ultimately will contribute to building a stronger and more resilient society.”
Canadian Deputy High Commissioner Jess Dutton said: “Supporting the Micronutrient Initiative has been part of the government of Canada’s broader commitment to improve maternal, newborn and child health around the world. With good nutrition, children are more likely to stay in school, contribute to the needs of their family and community, and reach their full potential.”
Through the initiative, MI will work with the state health department to increase healthcare workers’ capacity to promote and scale-up newborn care practices such as: delayed cord clamping to increase blood flow to the baby, post-delivery breast feeding, the use of “kangaroo” or skin-to-skin mother care to keep premature and low weight babies warm, and other interventions.
Mothers will also receive general counselling on childcare and nutrition, and more specifically on iron and folic acid supplementation to prevent anaemia. These interventions will be implemented across 18 districts and will benefit around 1.4 million newborns and their mothers among other things.