Raipur, Sep 6 (PTI) Anganwadis will reopen from Monday in Chhattisgarh for the first time since they were shut in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
However, these centres, which provide health and nutrition services to children and pregnant women, will continue to remain closed in containment zones, he added.
There are 51,455 anganwadi centres and the National Health and Family Welfare Phase 4 survey put the malnutrition level in the state at 37 per cent.
'The state Women and Child Development department has written to district collectors, divisional commissioners and district programme officers to ensure preventive measures are in place,' he said.
'These were closed since March 14 and workers were directly delivering dry ration to homes of beneficiaries. Even international agencies like WHO and UNICEF believe COVID-19 might result in rise in malnourishment and have suggested that effective steps be taken to check it,' the official said.
'Taking this into consideration, anganwadis will be opened for a limited period daily to provide freshly-cooked food to children between 3-6 years of age and pregnant women.
Besides, immunisation of children and health check-up of pregnant women can also be done,' he said.
At centres where the district administration will not allow food to be cooked, then ready-to-eat meals will be provided, he said.
'All precautions like thermal screening, personal hygiene etc will have to be maintained. Each centre must have just 15 people at one time. If any staff is found coronavirus positive, then the centre will be shut for three days,' he added.
The opposition BJP slammed the decision to reopen anganwadis, with party leader Harshita Pandey, who was former chairperson of state women's commission, claiming the move will put the lives of children and women at risk.
She said these centres do not have PPE kits for staff and would not be able to implement social distancing measures effectively.
'Under Unlock 4 guidelines, it has been advised that children be kept at home, but here the state WCD itself is violating safety norms,' Pandey said. PTI TKP BNM BNM