Govt not doing enough to curb malnutrition, says committee

The interim report submitted by a committee formed to tackle malnutrition among children in the State has suggested several measures, declaring that the present standards were woefully inadequate.

The committee headed by Justice N K Patil has advised the government to get medically examined all malnourished children in the 0-6 age group, enrolled in anganwadi centres. For severely malnourished children, it has suggested medical examination with the assistance of paediatricians or expert doctors, within two months.

The report states that affected children should be admitted to the nearest Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres and provided for stay and supply of food to a parent or guardian as well.

Children will be treated by specialists and the cost will be borne by the government. The profile of each of the malnourished child will be maintained with the help of an online monitoring facility. The State has been also directed to pay daily wages to a child’s parent or guardian during treatment.

Regular medical checkups, Anthyodaya or BPL cards for families of children suffering from malnutrition, and providing fresh and nutritious food based on local or regional food culture have also been suggested. As for infrastructure in anganwadis, the committee has called for providing toilet facilities for children at all anganwadis with separate provision for disabled children.

They have also directed supply of tables and mats for children and construction of compound walls for their safety, if an anganwadi is located on the premises of a government building. Two pairs of uniforms, play areas, pure drinking water and sufficient lighting and ceiling fans are also to be provided to them.

The committee has put the onus for lapses in the implementation of the schemes connected to anganwadi centres on the principal secretaries of the Departments of Revenue, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Primary and Secondary Education, Food and Civil Supplies, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and the Urban Development Department.

Following the report’s direction that a pilot be executed, the government has decided to implement it in Bhalki taluk in Bidar, Yelburga in Koppal, Periyapatna in Mysore, and Devadurga in Raichur. Health camps will be conducted on July 15 and incentives provided to bring in children below six years of age to the camps.

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