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Bolangir, Jan 27: Even as the government is striving to improve the nutritional level of children through various measures, including Anganwadi centres, an assessment of the status of malnutrition among Anganwadi going children in 30 gram panchayats of six tribal-dominated districts — Balangir, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Sundargarh — of Orissa by Voice for Child Rights Odisha (VCRO), a state-level civil society alliance working to protect and promote child rights with the support of network partners, has revealed a different picture.
As per VCRO’s findings, malnourishment stands at 28.5 per cent among children in the 1-2 years category, followed by 25.7 per cent in the 2-3 years category. The assessment also found malnutrition among 19.1 per cent, 15.7 per cent and 11 per cent of children among the 4-5 years, 3-4 years and less than 1 year categories. It was found that 13.2 per cent of eligible children are out of the Anganwadi net which is a cause for major worry. After 40 years of implementation of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, its benefits still haven’t reached all children.
As per the survey, 28 per cent of the enrolled malnourished children are not attending Anganwadi regularly, and 40 per cent are under severely malnourished category in January to March 2014 quarter. This reduced to 24 per cent during the last quarter of assessment, October to December 2014. However, the prevalence of malnourishment among the 1-2 years
category has remained dominant in all quarters. Nutrition supplements at Anganwadi hubs have not been able to check malnutrition as the number of children under ‘yellow category’ has increased. In all, 53 per cent of children reportedly did not receive any additional nutrition in the first quarter. This has increased to 60 per cent by the end of the fourth quarter.
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