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‘Malnutrition in State a big concern’

| | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar

Malnutrition continues to remain a topic of discussion and threat to the society followed by pollution,” said Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti Minister Prafulla Samal at Poshan Utsav held here on Wednesday.

The Voice for Child Rights in Odisha (VCRO) supported by the Child Rights and You (CRY) had launched a campaign “Healthy start for the children of tribal districts of Odisha” on July 29 here. The report of the campaign was released here on Wednesday at the Poshan Utsav.

Samal appreciated CRY and VCRO for highlighting the issue of malnutrition in the most critical districts in Odisha. He said, “Addressing malnutrition is a national priority. I would request the Union Government to extend support to the State in handling the issue.”

He also endorsed the recommendation for opening new ICDS centres at all the hamlets of tribal villages which would make women aware of providing proper food to the children at right time and breast-feeding during six months of birth.

He mentioned that now-a-days in every family, there is no one to take care of a child as both parents are going to work, but earlier the men only went for work to feed the family and the women got time to take care of the child.

Samal said, “We have newly taken Narasinghpur as a model to provide better healthcare to children and it includes every persons of the society, particularly Adivasis. We should be happy that in Odisha the intuitional delivery has increased to 78 per cent.”

As per the report, 11 per cent of the children of Odisha were severely underweight, while 29 per cent of children were in moderate category in the age-group of 0-6 years. It was also found that farmers and daily-wage earners were more vulnerable to malnutrition, as 42 per cent and 43 per cent of children respectively in those households were found underweight.

Children of tribal communities were in a more critical situation, with 14 per cent of them being severely underweight and in total 44 per cent of them were underweight.

The report findings suggest with almost 35 per cent of total under-5 child population in the State are underweight and 45 per cent children in the same age-group are suffering from anemia. It also suggests that Odisha is one of the States which lag behind the national status of child health and malnutrition which is even worse in tribal districts of the State. 

Despite the recent decline in infant and child mortality (IMR and U5MR), the State still fares poorly in comparison to the national estimate. As NFHS 4 data reveals, 40 children (per 1,000 live birth) still die within the first year of life, and 49 (per 1,000 live birth) die before they reach five years of age.

The campaign reached out to 131 villages in 17 panchayats across five districts in the State to identify the status of child malnutrition on the one hand, and to build awareness among the people at large on the other.

It has also touched and monitored 113 ICDS centres to cover more than 4,300 children and 1,400 expecting and lactating mothers, mobilised them to participate in 99 Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND), reached more than 2,600 children in schools to build awareness on health and hygiene, engaged with 148 teachers to encourage students in regular hand wash and other hygienic practices.

The campaign also successfully sensitised village people and promoted as many as 338 kitchen gardens to produce nutritious vegetables for children locally, to ensure that their nutritional requirement was properly met.

Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Kasturi Mahapatra said, “The campaign has brought in very insightful information from the ground-level reality, and highlighted the crucial process of change.”

Mahapatra also requested Samal to implement the recommendations in 17 panchayats across five tribal districts in the State.

VCRO convener Bidyut Mohanty, MLA Pradip Purohit, CRY Odisha head Ashim Ghose also spoke on the occasion.

 
 
 
 
 

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