Three weeks after HT first reported a spate of child deaths in Sheopur and Shivpuri districts due to alleged malnutrition and related diseases, the women and child development minister Ranjana Baghel visited the two districts on Sunday.
She held a meeting of the officials of Chambal and Gwalior divisions at Shivpuri and emphasised on opening of day care centres on the lines of nutrition rehabilitation centres at some of the selected anganwadis in malnutrition sensitive areas. It might be mentioned that following HT reports, the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had asked the minister to visit the districts during a cabinet meeting on September 24.
Like the chief secretary R Parasuram, who visited the districts last week, the minister said that community level management with support of NGOs should be taken up for coping up with malnutrition scenario.
She directed the senior officials to ensure that the filed staff constantly monitored the anganwadi functioning and ensured that all kids got quality nutritious food at right time. She also said if any anganwadi was found closed during working hours, the anganwadi worker should be immediately removed and new recruitment done at local level.
Later, the minister visited certain villages including Kakra in malnutrition-hit Pohri block in Shivpuri and addressed anganwadi workers. She said that while malnutrition had been managed in most districts of state, it still remains a challenge in MP and the anganwadi workers should work with more zealousness to combat the problem.
She, however, failed to visit the villages in the district like Chharch, Mudkheda, Nehargarha and others where malnutrition deaths were recently reported. Social activist Uma Chaturvedi who had initially reported the deaths said the minister should have gone to the villages where deaths occurred, especially when she was asked by the chief minister to find out the ground situation about malnutrition.
SHEOPUR: However, later during the day, when she arrived in Karahal block of Sheopur district, visited Piprani and Lahroni villages, where child deaths were reported in recent past. After finding one severely malnourished child in Piprani, she got the child sent to nutrition rehabilitation centre and also asked the accompanying officials to conduct door-to-door survey to track the malnourished kids and provide them required care.
At Lahroni, she reportedly urged the local people to participate in malnutrition management and also pool local resources for the purpose.
(With inputs from Ranjeet Gupta, Shivpuri)