At a time when India plans a multi-pronged attack on malnutrition in 200 high-burden districts, it will pay to examine the cracks in state institutions that have led to past failures and can still derail well-intentioned plans. Pramit Bhattacharya
Just over four years old, Surya Mariappa from Santacruz weighs only six kilos – half the weight of healthy children his age. Admitted to civic-run Sion hospital, the child lost his eyesight after a long period of near starvation, Priyanka Vora
Most cases don’t even reach hospitals; five children below the age of six died in Govandi last month, 88 cases were reported from the same area.
Surya Mariappa, a four-year-old who weighs 6kg, is not the only starving child in his family, that lives in a Santacruz slum.
The report of the Bombay high court-appointed Malnutrition Monitoring Committee (MMC), submitted in February this year, has been in cold-storage.
Less than three weeks after a child from a Santacruz slum was rendered blind by malnutrition, another starving child has been admitted with the same condition.
In a bid to tackle urban malnutrition, the state government on Monday launched a programme under the state’s RJMC Health and Nutrition Mission, focusing on pregnant women and children up to two years of age. HT
The percentage of children below the age of two suffering from chronic malnutrition in Maharashtra has come down to 22.8% in 2012 from 39% five years ago.
At 59 deaths per 1000 births, Madhya Pradesh has the highest infant mortality rate. Many malnourished families know nothing about government schemes.
The Nongmaithem family is an example of how Manipur has benefited from the state health programmes. The infant mortality rate has dipped to 11 in 2011 from 14 in 2010.
Almost 52% of kids under three are undernourished in Uttar Pradesh which also has a high mortality rate at 768/1000 live births.
The Bihar government does not admit to a single hunger death in recent years. But civil rights activists insist that malnutrition and hunger have been significant issues in the state.
The district administration is still in denial, so is state revenue minister Surya Narayan Patra. He said, “I have received a report from the Balangir collector on Jhintu Bariha’s family. It says starvation is not the cause of the deaths.” Priya Ranjan Sahu
Deaths due to malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal-majority districts are likely to figure in the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s 13th session in Geneva during March 1 to 26.
The union government’s bid to reform the food subsidy regime through the proposed National Food Security law has got the Supreme Court-appointed Right to Food commissioners up-in-arms against the government.