Utilization of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme by child beneficiaries in Coastal Karnataka, India
Background: India’s main early childhood development intervention the ICDS Scheme has been sustained for 40 years and has been successful in some ways. However, nearly half of the children under six years are still under nourished. The program in reducing the proportion of undernourished children over the past decade has been modest and slower in India than what has been achieved in other countries with comparable socio-economic indicators. Aims & Objectives: 1. To study the utilization of services offered to children under ICDS, 2. To assess the perception about the services. Materials & Methods: A community based cross sectional study was done among mothers of 271 children in the age group three to six years registered in anganwadis. Results: Median duration of absenteeism to anganwadi was five months during the last six months enquired. About 95.9% of registered child beneficiaries utilized supplementary nutrition services and only 48.7% mothers of child beneficiaries were attending nutrition and health education sessions. Among mothers who were aware of growth monitoring, only 73.6% of their children’s weight was checked regularly. About 60% of mothers were not happy with the quality of food served to their children in the anganwadi. Among children adherent to anganwadi, 72.5% children’s weight remained normal. Conclusion: Only 75% children were regularly attending. Median duration of adherence to anganwadi services was only 12 months and the most common reason for not adhering to the services is due to their simultaneous enrollment in other private nursery school.