State govt begins identifying malnourished children

State govt begins identifying malnourished children

State govt begins identifying malnourished children

The State government has begun the process of identification of malnourished children below the age of six and not enrolled in the anganwadi centres, on the direction of the High Court.

The first health camp for such children is scheduled for July 15.

However, sources in the Women and Child Development Department and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, responsible for the implementation of directions of the High Court, said this will be only a one-time exercise as there is no specific policy to deal with the problem yet.

The High Court, after going through the interim report submitted by the committee chaired by Justice N K Patil to look into the issue of malnutrition of children in the State, said: “The State has been identifying malnourished children enrolled in anganwadis but there must be an effort to help children outside these centres and the State must consider providing incentives to such children/parents so it encourages them to come forth.”

In line with the observation, the departments concerned have decided that every child identified as malnourished will be provided with five kilo wheat. The government has not planned for any fresh procurement of grains for this purpose.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Hemalatha P, Director, Women and Child Development Department, said:  “We will now use the grains available with the anganwadi centres. Given that this is a one time initiative, we should not have any problems in distribution of the same as we have an excess stock of grains.”

On whether the problem of malnourishment will be solved with a one-time check-up, she said that the government was yet to come out with a policy and as of now, the department was acting on the direction of the High Court.

Policy in future

“We are sure the government will bring out a policy about how to go about it in the future, but for now it will only be a one-time initiative.”  The children will, however, be enrolled into the anganwadi centres, she added.

Anjum Parvez, Commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said: “During this exercise we are expecting as many children as those already enrolled in the anganwadi centres, with a probable difference of 10-15 per cent.

The Women and Child Development Department is responsible for the distribution of grains and we do not expect any hiccups.”

In March and April 2012, the two departments had conducted medical examination of 47,355 severely underweight children enrolled in anganwadi centres.

Out of these, 42,108 children were treated as outpatients while 991 were treated at Bala-Sanjeevini Hospitals.

Following this, a decision was taken to again take stock of the situation and medical examination of 53,488 severely malnourished children was carried out.

Of these 2,509 were provided treatment at Bala-Sanjeevini Hospitals and 1,021 children were treated at Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs).

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