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Consultant: Ramesh

Data theme: Health and Nutrition, Entitlements.

Objectives: Improve Weekly Iron Folic Supplements program coverage at the school level by addressing distribution barriers; Improve access to information and counseling on nutrition specifically on risks of anemia, importance of diet diversity, IFA supplementation.

Key Outcomes: The project engaged adolescents at five high schools and 10 Anganwadi centers.

At least 100 people including adolescents, Anganwadi centers, school teachers and other stakeholders were made aware of the Weekly Iron Folic Supplements programme. 

School youth committees have been formed to address adolescents’ health concerns and increase awareness about different services.

The medical officer in-charge (MOIC) organized a health screening, and IFA distribution for adolescent girls in the select schools. The MOIC and the Block Resource Coordinator also further committed to procuring IFA tablets on a regular basis, by issuing official letters for this.

Process:  The focus of this project was to improve the in-school implementation of RKSK, specifically the Weekly Iron Folic Supplements programme (WIFS) programme, by addressing distribution barriers and improving access to information and counseling. The primary concern here was that Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets were not being given out to adolescent girls. Additionally during field visits, it was seen that many schools didn’t have girls-only toilets; they often shared toilets with boys. These issues were addressed through meetings with school teachers, block department officials, Anganwadi workers and frontline workers like ASHAs and ANMs. 

The meetings and consultations revealed that IFA tablets weren’t being given at schools because the relevant staff weren’t aware of this aspect of the WIFS scheme; they thought that Anganwadi workers and FLWs should provide adolescent girls with IFA tablets. However, on learning about their responsibility the teachers responsible and medical officer in charge were quick to take action. They have committed to regularize WIFS service components at the selected schools and anganwadi centers. A letter was also issued by the District Health Society to scale up school-based awareness activities and regularize WIFS in all schools  

To ensure that out-of-school adolescent girls also get IFA tablets on time, further conversations are being carried out with the Child Development Programme Officer (CDPO) in-charge of anganwadi centers. Another success of the project has been the formation of school youth committees to address adolescents’ health concerns and increase awareness about different services. These have peer educators and one male and female focal point teacher who act as counselors to help them. Additionally, many schools have repaired their toilet facilities so that girls have access to clean toilets — an important step to keep girls in school.