Nabarangpur tops in child malnutrition: “355 children died in six months” #Odisha #ChildCare
Nabarangpur: Reporter Basant Rath – The menace of malnutrition among children is still haunting the backward Nabarangpur district of Odisha. The number of infants affected by severe malnutrition in the district crossed 3359 mark while 355 children died in acute malnutrition between January to June this year. Though some reports quoting unofficial sources said with a sizeable chunk of child population in the age group of 0-5 years died in acute malnutrition. In rural areas with predominant tribal population, thing have gone from bad to worse in the district.
According to the data available with the district Women and Child Development Department, malnutrition is being detected in around 3359 children in the district. The data further puts the total malnourished child died in January 68, February 54, March 60, April 96, May 84, and in the month of June 73 infants died in the district.
As the malnutrition is one of the prime reasons behind the infant deaths in the district, the Government claims to be providing nutritious food to pregnant women and infants till six years. However, the programme appears to be defunct in reality. While the nutritious food and cooked food have been provided to infants of six months to
five years of age through the Anganwadi Centers, the quantity of supplying the items is allegedly limited in many centres, sources said .
In the centres free food is supplied and education imparted to the children from zero to five years. Though these centres food is supplied to the pregnant women and children. It is alleged that food is not supplied to to the most of the centres in time and the concerned departments have not taken any steps in this regard.
Surprisingly the SHGs are supplying low standard and insufficient Chattuas which is the major cause of malnutrition among the children and pregnant women. The SHGs have been engaged to supply Chattua to
these Anganwadi centres. It is alleged that these SHGs are being controlled by the Anganwadi members, in these centres 15 days food supply is stretched to one month and the rest 15 days’ supply is embezzled among the Anganwadi members, Supervisors, and other concerned officials. There is urgent need to change those fraudulent
SHGs and the concern authority to look into the matter. The large number of death of children in the past six months has caused sensation in the district.
Although there is provision for the treatment of malnutrition children with then beds each at Nabarangpur and Umerkote hospitals but such children are not treated even at the centres. It is matter of concern that a large number of tribal children have been falling victim to malnutrition and no step is being taken to check this. Yet, the increasing number of infants with severe acute malnutrition has become a matter of major concern in the district.