Berhampur: The National Human Rights Commission has sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Collector over a media report in May that stated that about 500 children in Ganjam district had suffered from undernourishment in a year.
The district administration drew flak from several quarters over the issue while the rights panel took up the matter seriously and sought a report from the Collector.
According to procedure, health of children is examined under the Rastriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSY) programme. For this purpose 24 teams have been formed in 22 blocks of the district and each team comprises two ayush doctors, a pharmacist and a woman health worker.
An underweight kid with length of its hand less than 11.5 cm and swelling feet comes under malnutrition category. Such children are admitted to Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) for treatment. Three NRCs of the district are located at City Hospital in Berhampur, Bhanjanagar sub-divisional hospital and Aska community health centre. During the period between March 2017 and April 2018, 504 children suffered from malnutrition and admitted to the NRCs. Of them, 124 were admitted to Aska CHC, 166 in Bhanjanagar SDH and 214 in City Hospital. While 249 of them were girls, 206 belonged to SC category, 56 were from ST community and others from general caste category.
A report published in this regard in Odia daily Dharitri May 22 created ripples in administrative level and several organisations criticised the inefficiency of the administration. The next day, rights activist Shivashankar Patra, a resident of K Nuapalli village, moved NHRC over the issue.
The panel viewed the matter seriously and June 19 directed the women and child development (WCD) department secretary to take action and submit a report within eight weeks.
The WCD Thursday asked the Ganjam Collector to file the ATR with the NHRC as well as the petitioner, it was learnt.