Best practices in integrated child development services: some lesson for its restructuring and strengthening

Best practices in integrated child development services: some lesson for its restructuring and strengthening

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), India’s primary response to address malnutrition, is one of the world’s largest outreach child development programmes. Within the ICDS, some innovations have demonstrated significant improvements in the nutritional status of children.

This paper discusses four of such innovations assessed and “best practices” by a World Bank study and the critical components and factors that possibly led to their success in improving nutrition. The four “best practices” are:

Anchal Se Angan Tak (ASAT)

Dular

Positive Deviance (PD)

Reproductive and Child Health Nutrition programme (RACHNA

The author stresses that these initiatives had significant impact on the ICDS due to the following reasons:
Focus on the ‘window of opportunity’

Household counselling

Capacity building of functionaries and supportive supervision

Improved monitoring system and tools

Enhance planning at all levels

Enhance community participation

Supportive structures at all levels – state, district, blocks, sector and village

Convergence with health-joint planning, training and use of fixed day strategy

In view of the above, the paper states the following key learning points to further the restructure and strengthen the ICDS:

  • Adequate support structures and mechanisms for enhanced service delivery at all levels of the ICDS;
  • Reform and strengthening of planning, training, supervision, monitoring and overall management system;
  • Focus on pregnant women and children under three years
  • Critical behavioural change;
  • Built-in rigorous evaluation of programmes.
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