Malnutrition looms large over H-K region

Malnutrition looms large  over H-K region

Every third malnourished child in the State is from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, reveals a study.

Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, and Koppal districts that comprise the Hyderabad-Karnataka region presents a shocking picture. Whereas the situation in Raichur is far worse than sub-Saharan countries and our own BIMARU states, the study notes.

The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) report of the Naandi Foundation provides reliable estimates of the prevalence of severe malnutrition in 112 districts in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.

However, as the report does not cover Karnataka, the acute malnourishment in the State has not come to the fore.

A study, thus, taken up by a Professor of Economics Sangeeta Kattimani, has established that every third child plagued by malnutrition in the State comes from the H-K region.

The professor has co-authored the book, ‘Inclusive Growth-Article 371 for Development of H-K Region’, with senior IAS officer Dr Shalini Rajneesh and Dr Chaya Degaonkar, Department of Economics, Gulbarga University.

She has travelled extensively in Raichur and Gulbarga districts and visited several anganwadi centres to record the prevalence of malnutrition among children.

Official figures

The official figures of the Department of Women and Child Development as on March 2 this year set the total number of malnourished children in the State at 58,572.

Of the total number, 15,878 afflicted children are from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region accounting for 27 per cent. Raichur which has 7,343 malnourished children, the highest, is followed by Koppal with 3,572 and Gulbarga with 3,006 children.

According to the official data, as many as 811 deaths occurred owing to malnutrition in the State in 2009. The number rose to 1,233 deaths in 2010. While 645 deaths due to malnutrition have been recorded till August 2011.

“Children dying of malnutrition is no longer an exception. It has become a daily affair in Raichur. Malnutrition is rampant in  Malledavaragudda, Nagadadinni, Markamdinni, Magol, Kyadigera, Ganadhal and Jagirgaldinni villages in the district.

A majority of children suffering from acute malnutrition belong to the Madiga community,” said Kattimani.

Residents of the afore-mentioned villages do not have access to potable water, Public Distribution System and health care facility aggravating the condition, she added.

Abject poverty, frequent droughts, low income levels and inadequate medical facilities make Raichur a ‘dark region,’ said Clifton Rosario, State Advisor, Office of the Supreme Court Commissioner on Food Rights, in his report.

Bleak picture

In Chiksugur anganwadi, which is located 13 kms from Raichur, Udaykumar who is eight months old weighs 6 kg against the average 8 kg, while two-and-a-half-year-old Sangamesh weighs 8 kg. Both the children are from the Scheduled Community, Kattimani said.

As the situation in H-K region is akin to BIMARU states, it only seems appropriate to include the entire Hyderabad-Karnataka region under the Prime Minister’s Multi-Sectoral Programme for 200 high burden districts, she observed.

The study also highlighted that the  Comprehensive Nutrition Mission launched by the State government in 2009-10 has failed to tackle malnutrition in the districts, which continue to reel under deprivation.

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