The programme of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was launched on October 2, 1975 in 33 blocks in the country on an experimental basis to commemorate the 106th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi seeking to provide an integrated package of services in a convergent manner for the holistic development of the child. In Haryana, ICDS was launched in Kathura block of Sonepat district at first.
ICDS symbolizes the country's commitment to its children.
ICDS promotes child survival and development through an integrated approach for converging basic services for improved child care, early stimulation and learning, improved enrolment and retention, health and nutrition, and water and environmental sanitation.
Integrated and inter-sectoral nature, coordination mechanism, community involvement, training infrastructure and monitoring system make ICDS a unique programme.
ICDS has the potential to achieve the major national nutrition, health and educational goals of the National Plan of Action for Children.
ICDS provides increased opportunities for according children their rights.
ICDS through its advocacy and social mobilization components aims to empower the community using communication channels and media as tools for development.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was conceived with an integrated delivery package of early childhood services so that their synergistic effect can be taken full advantage. The Scheme aims to improve the nutritional and health status of vulnerable groups including pre-school children, pregnant women and nursing mothers through providing a package of services including supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, immunization, health check up, referral services and nutrition and health education.
In addition, the Scheme envisages effective convergence of inter-sectoral services in the Anganwadi Centres.
Immunization of pregnant women and infants protects children from six vaccine preventable diseases-poliomyelitis, diphtheria , pertussis, tetanus, tuberculosis and measles. These are major preventable causes of child mortality, disability, morbidity and related mal-nutrition. Immunization of pregnant women against tetanus also reduces maternal mortality. PHC and its subordinate health infrastructure carry out immunization of infants and expectant mothers as per the national immunization schedule. The Anganwadi Worker assists the health functionaries in coverage of the target population for immunization.
Multi-Purpose Health Workers (Female) and Lady Health Visitors, Health Supervisors (Female) pay regular visits to the Anganwadi Centres, where ante-natal care of expecting mothers, postnatal care of nursing mothers and health needs of the children upto 6 years of age are attended to. Medical Officers of the area also carry out health check up of children and mothers periodically.
During health check-ups and growth monitoring, sick or malnourished children, in need of prompt medical attention are provided referral services through ICDS.
Multipurpose Health Workers (Female)/ Health Supervisors (Female) also diagnose minor ailments and distribute simple medicines in Anganwadi Centres. Each Anganwadi Worker has a small medicine kit with basic medicines for common ailments like fever, cold, cough, diarrhoea, worms, skin and eye infections that she dispenses as and when required.