India-US to share tips on women, child issues

The central government has agreed to include the Integrated Child Development Services in the Indo-US women empowerment dialogue, which is already in progress.

The decision is significant because of similar problems the US and the Indian programmes on women and child nutrition face.

Women and child development minister Krishna Tirath met US health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Tirath agreed to the US proposal for a shared learning on these programmes.

Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also attended the meeting. Tirath told her US counterpart that the ICDS programme is designed to reach the disadvantaged and low-income groups through sanctioned ICDS centres across India.

The US health secretary said the programme for nutrition support for pregnant and lactating mothers in the US is run by the agriculture department. However, the US programme has been criticised for its eligibility criteria.

In order to receive aid, a family’s income must be or less than 185 per cent of the current US poverty level and must have a nutritional risk assessment by a qualified health professional.

Critics of this programme say nutrition risk assessment and poverty level determination are far from objective.

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