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Nitte College of Pharmaceutical Sciences in partnership with UNICEF and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, executed a project on Social &Behavior Change Among the Communities to Avail Health & Nutrition Services in Karnataka. It sparked off with the inaugural ceremony on 6th of May, 2022 where Dr. Kusum Devi, Principal, NCOPS emphasizedon the importance of nutrition and immunization for the well-being of the community. NSS Officer, Dr Ashwini. Mhighlighted the essence of the project and the qualities and nature of an NSS volunteer. NSS volunteers were carefully and rigorously trained before they could offer their impeccable services to the outside world.

Moulding Young Minds
First the volunteers were oriented to take up the project, where various activities and training was conducted to create awareness and inculcate leadership skillsamong the NSS volunteers. Among all activities notable were poster designing events which emphasized the significance of nutrition and immunization. The first event was devoted to NSS volunteers designing posters and placards amplifying the importance of anaemia management and effects of malnutrition. This was followed by another poster event on Poshan Abhiyan which focused mainly on spreading awareness to prevent stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies. Once the grooming was completed, the NSS volunteers were equipped enough to offer their services to the community.

Extending their services to the outside world - All set to fly
The second phase was initiated by NCOPS NSS volunteers taking off to Gantiganahalli village and counseling the residents and emphasizing the importance of taking booster dose with the help of pictorial charts and pamphlets. They also stressed the importance of consuming healthy, immune rich foods in the daily diet. A walkathon was also held into spread awareness on routine immunization. The students interacted with the villagers and distributed immunization schedule charts and educated the parents who refrained from vaccinating their children.
Further, a COVID-19 Precaution Dose Vaccination Drivein association with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Bengaluru was organized. A total of 300 members were vaccinated during the drive. NSS volunteers visited an old age home near Attur layoutwhich had 30 elderly residents and the team explained at lengththe significance of COVID-19 booster dose. It was followed by entertainment activities after which they served food to the elders bringing a sense of belonging and well-being in them.

Another venture of the NSS volunteers was a school visit to Thimmasandra Government Primary School,where the volunteers entertained and educated the children on nutrition and the consequences of eating unhealthy food enacting a skit.They distributed fruits, measured height and weight and identified underweight students. Food charts to be followed for the improvement of weight in students were distributed. Some time was taken to educate the nearby women engaged in labour work on maintaining hygiene and availing health related benefits under the “Integrated Child Development Scheme”.

Next, the NSS team visit to Gantiganahalli government primary school began with a role-play on healthy food habits, food nutritive value and eating practices. They shared information on nutrition through games, distributed fruits and taught them to identify healthy and unhealthy food based on nutritive values. The BMI of students was calculated and all were found within limits. The next event was at Thimmasandra Government Primary School on personal hygiene, and demonstration of hand washing steps.The students were educated using Nali-Kali concept, which is basically learning through playing. Finally, soaps, hand washes and books were distributed.
All above activities are not only helpful for the community but also instill a sense of empathy and responsibility in the young minds thus contributing to the holistic development of students and society.

1. Dr. V. Kusum Devi
Principal, Nitte College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bengaluru, 560064
2. Dr. Ashwini. M
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, Nitte College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bengaluru, 560064
3. Mr. Akshay Kumar. U
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Nitte College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bengaluru, 560064