Even a decade after Supreme Court directives, the Sheopur administration failed to provide proper food and healthcare to people of the district where 19 children have died since August reportedly due to malnutrition, activists alleged.
Sheopur is the district with the highest rate of malnutrition in the state, according to National Family Health Survey released earlier this year.
On Monday, principal secretaries of health, and women and child development departments went to the district but allegedly limited their visit to Sesaipura and Upri Khori villages where only six cases of malnutrition were found.
Sources had said the officials did not visit Golipura, where 10 children died, and Nichli Khori, where three children died, and Baroda block, where 4 children died.
Child health care activist Rolly Shivahare said, “This shows the seriousness of government towards a major problem of malnutrition which is claiming lives every year.”
In 2005, the Supreme Court had taken cognisance over malnutrition deaths in Patalgarh and had asked for strengthening public distribution system and anganwadis to ensure mothers and children get proper food and care.
A team of right to food campaign’s Madhya Pradesh group had in 2006 found highlighted the lack of basic facilities for the mothers and children in the affected areas.
“Despite knowing the problem from long time, government failed to come up with planning which can eradicate the problem totally,” said Shivahare.
Right to food activist Sachin Jain said, “Instead of finding out structural causes, the government tries to provide supplementary nutrition to deal with malnutrition. Comprehensive planning approach is totally missing to resolve the issue.”
He said this was the main reason that even after years, the problem of malnutrition had not been addressed in the primitive Saharia tribal villages of Sheopur.
“The problem of malnutrition is not limited to the women and child development department. There is a need to bring different departments on the same platform to know the root cause of malnutrition and solution of it.”