SEVERAL HEALTH programmes in various districts of the State have been hit due to the decision of UK-based Direct Funding for International Development (DFID) to withdraw funding.
The most affected, however, is the ambitious Bal Sanjeevani Abhiyan. Just when the scheme had started picking up with more and more parents starting to bring their malnourished wards for hospitalisation under the Bal Shakti Yojana, the funding has been stopped. This has brought to naught work of more than nine phases of the Abhiyan.
It can be called a classic example of how step-motherly attitude of Health Department can ruin an apparently good scheme with malnourished children of grade III and IV identified during Bal Sanjeevani Abhiyan being denied the benefits Bal Shakti Yojana.
All grade IV children, and few of grade III, were advised hospitalisation since April 2006, funding for which was provided by DFID. Woman and Child Development department in Indore district had identified a total of 1,011 children in grade III and 135 under grade IV during the last campaign, which ended on November 25.
During hospitalisation - a maximum of 15 days is allowed – Rs 35 is given to parents, mother or guardian and Rs 15 is marked for the child, which is given nutritious food at the hospital itself. When the child is sent back, the parents are given Rs 100 as hospitalisation charge.
After the DFID funding stopped with effect from December 31, 2006, children are being turned away from most of places. Indore Woman and Child Development officer Tripti Tripathi said, “Our efforts of so many years will be wasted. We will have to start from scratch if word goes around that the children are being turned away.”
“When I raised the issue with authorities at Bhopal, they say they are trying to find a solution by talking with the health authorities,” she added.
Of the four centres in Indore receiving children under the scheme, only Chacha Nehru Children’s Hospital continues to treat and hospitalize children. Hospital Superintendent Dr Sharad Thora said, “We have a big set-up here. We continue to treat children but we are unable to pay the promised amount to parents.”
Joint Director (Health) Dr S K Shrivastava said, “We were aware since three months that the DFID funding was to stop after December 2006. It was a time-bound project.”
“A few of our schemes are to be merged or integrated with either RCH II (Reproductive and Child Care) or National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), work for which is almost complete.
Each district across the State has different schemes going on under DFID programme. There are about 10-12 schemes in all that could have been affected.” The question is, is it alleged step-motherly treatment towards Women and Child Development Department? Why was Bal Shakti Yojana left in the lurch?