Suryakant Jena

Odisha government on Wednesday announced to reopen the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in the State from March 28. AWCs across the state were closed since 19.04.2021 due to the prevailing pandemic.

However, with the considerable drop in the number of Covid cases, the State Women and Child Development Department (WCD) today shot a letter to Collectors of all districts to take necessary steps for implementing the SOP for reopening of the Anganwadis from March 28.

As per the decision, the AWCs will be kept open from 7.30 A.M. to 9.30 AM 25 days a month. Morning Snacks and HCMs will be served to the preschoolers (3-6 years) in such a way that the sitting arrangement ensures a social distance amongst children.

However, ration, in lieu of HCMs and eggs will be given to the Anganwadi children at their doorsteps in case of children who are not able to attend AWC due to COVID or some other problem or on closure of AWC.

Resumption of preschool education as per Nua Arunima curriculum to be done at AWCs and outdoor activities to be promoted. However, Ghare Ghare Arunima and Kuni calendar to continue for parent-led ECCE activities at home.

3.4 All other Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS) such as immunization, health checkups, referrals and Nutrition & Health Education (NHEd) are to continue.

The government has however ruled that AWCs, where district administration decides not to reopen the AWCs depending on the local situation, may continue to remain closed.

If COVID cases are detected in the future, in any GP, district administration may also close down all the AWCs of that G.P forthwith; ensure isolation and other protocols for the beneficiary so affected under intimation to this office, the WCD department said in its notice.

The WCD Department has issued the following SOP for the reopening of the Anganwadi Centres in the State.

  • Anganwadi premises must be kept clean and properly disinfected & sanitized prior to reopening.
  • Handwash facility must be at the entrance with soaps, water and sanitizers.
  • Doors and windows of the AWC must be kept open for proper air circulation. iv.
  • Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)/ Helpers (AWHs), children and everyone who is visiting AWC must wear face masks and maintain social distance for the entire period of stay in AWCs.
  • Entry of outsiders into AWCs must be restricted. AWW, AWH, Parents, mothers, adolescent girls or Anganwadi children, with ILI and SARI-like symptoms, must be requested to not to visit AWC. Persons above 65 years of age must also be requested not to visit AWCs.
  • Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained at all time, particularly while having sitting arrangements of children, taking up activities with them, serving food and holding other ICDS activities.
  • Food hygiene protocols must be strictly adhered to while cooking & serving meals.
  • All AWWs/AWHs should have been fully vaccinated before attending the AWCs. If anyone is not vaccinated, steps should be taken to vaccinate them immediately. In case of willful failure to avail the vaccine, action, as deemed proper, will be initiated against them.
  • Messages on prevention of Covid-19 should be displayed at all AWCs.
  • These instructions may please be circulated to all the ICDS functionaries for scrupulous adherence. Feedback on the status of implementation may also be shared with the Department.