Malnutrition Hits Children Of Odisha

Experts working in the field of child nutrition stated that the malnutrition problem in Odisha, especially in rural areas, is a public health emergency and requires urgent interventions.

Titled “Medically Certified Cause of Death (MCCD)” a report registered by the Registrar General of India (RGI) has stated the death of 6 children in the year 2017 have occurred due to malnutrition-related diseases. Furthermore, the Odisha government in the state Assembly had admitted to the fact that as many as 26,184 children suffered from malnutrition and fell in the severely underweight category in 2018.

As per results provided by the National Family Health Survey-4, a total percentage of under-five children in Odisha suffering from severe wasting (severe acute malnutrition or SAM) has risen from 5.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent in the past decade.

In Odisha, Severe Acute Malnutrition is effectively treated by social health activists, Anganwadis and auxiliary nurse midwives as they play a central role in catering to these children. To tackle this issue, several Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres have been established and functioning. The cumulative efficiency of the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres in the treatment of children with complicated SAM hasn’t yielded a satisfactory result though the segment-wise treatment programs have been effective.

“Scientific evidence shows that almost 90 per cent of SAM cases are uncomplicated and can be treated through community-based management (CMAM),” said Dr Phadke, a renowned child health expert and senior adviser to National Rural Health Mission. “SAM children without complications can be treated in the community. They need special therapeutic food with fine particle size. As many as 66% of the children with SAM who consumed locally-produced therapeutic food under the Bal Sanjeevani showed a positive response to the treatment protocol,” Dr Phadke added.

Phadke further commented that food and livelihoods’ allocation programmes like Targeted Public Distribution Programme, Integrated Child Development Services, Supplementary Nutrition Programme, Mid-Day Meal programme and National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme have not yielded the desired impact on reducing malnutrition. Plenty of people living in the state haven’t yet had complete acces s to these welfare programmes.

Notably, SAM children have a much higher risk of death and to develop complications that can be fatal if untreated.

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