Nandini Nadar had been stumbling and bumping into things in the night for the past month, but her parents did not take it seriously. Three days ago, the four-year-old stopped seeing things completely.
Her incessant complaints of ‘kuch nahi dikh raha hai’ forced her parents, who live in Malvani, to take her to JJ hospital in Byculla.
Nandini first developed night blindness and eventually lost all vision because of a severe vitamin A deficiency — a result of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
Doctors said that Nandini’s condition could have been avoided had her parents listened to her.
“She might take long to recover. She can’t eat food properly as her mouth is full of ulcers due to B complex deficiency,” said Dr Sushant Mane, assistant professor at JJ Hospital.
Although she is the couple’s only child, Nandini is fed only twice a day because of limited availability of food. The family holds a ration card, but has never been able to buy grains at subsidised rates.
“The ration shop is always short of food, so we have to buy it from outside,” said Jyoti, her mother.
Jyoti added that the child had been admitted at Bhagwati Hospital for three days two weeks ago for diarrhoea. “But they didn’t tell me that my daughter was malnourished,” said Jyoti.
Meanwhile, Surya Mariappa, who was admitted to Sion hospital on October 4 with vision loss because of malnutrition, has gained about 800 grams. The four-year-old from a Santacruz slum weighed six kilos at the time of admission.