Baripada: The government implements the integrated child development scheme (ICDS) through Anganwadi centres to tackle malnutrition among children and women. Despite this scheme, malnutrition cases have not been tackled in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district, a report said.
Lack of awareness among people about dietary provision has been blamed for the increase in the number of cases of malnutrition among kids and expectant and lactating mothers.
The report said that such cases, particularly among children, are being found in remote and inaccessible pockets of the district where development has taken a backseat. Experts and social activists have cast doubts over effective execution of the ICDS.
Official data revealed by the nutrition rehabilitation centre (NRC) at the district headquarters hospital in Baripada shows that malnutrition is yet to be tackled in the district. The NRC has been functioning under National Health Mission at the DHH since 2009 to treat malnourished kids free of cost. The transport fare of the malnourished kids is provided to the guardians.
The report said that 219 kids were found malnourished and were treated at the centre in 2014-15 while the centre has treated 172 malnourished kids in 2015-16.
205 malnourished kids were admitted to the NRC for treatment in 2016-17 while 166 were treated in 2018-19 and 155 in 2019-20.
In the last four months of the current year, 17 malnourished children were admitted and treated at the NRC. In August, four kids had come to the centre for treatment.
It is seen that children under the age of five years are affected by micronutrient deficiencies. Some malnourished cases were found to be underweight. A case in point is a one-and-a-half-year old son of Karmi Murmu, a resident of Saria under Betanoti block. The child is said to be malnourished and is affected by stunted growth. The condition of the second child is also the same. Their mother is also affected by malnutrition.
Besides, children of Sebati Majhi (Kuliana village) and Phulamani Tudu (Rasagobindapur) are malnourished.
In is observed that many children in the areas around Smilipal are found malnourished while efforts of the administration to curb such cases have allegedly failed.
Experts said, timely and complementary feeding needs to be given to infants aged 6-8 months to tackle such cases, but parents in rural pockets are not aware of it.
Nutrition consultant Sonali Sahu said that Angawadi workers visit houses to detect malnourished children and sent them to the NRC for treatment.
She pointed out that since most of the people whose kids are malnourished are daily wagers, they overlook the care of kids and are unwilling to take them to the NRC. Now, Covid restrictions have become a problem for them. Some conscious citizens say that malnutrition cases are on the rise for lack of public awareness in remote and rural pockets.