Malnutrition prevails, good food eludes kids

Malnutrition prevails, good food eludes kids

Children and workers in this anganwadi struggle to manage with shortage of milk and eggs

Malnutrition prevails, good food eludes kids

Three children sharing one litre of milk for a span of about a month-and-a-half is just one aspect of malnutrition among the 15 children at the anganwadi centre at Chikkanahalli in Muduvatti Gram Panchayat. Three children at the centre, suffering from malnutrition, have not got milk since May 22. They are fed eggs starting March 28, 2011, but the eggs are purchased by the anganwadi teacher. The Anganwadi Department officers have been receiving vouchers for the purchase, but not released the money. 

Making do

 There is no stove or cooker to prepare the meals for the children. The anganwadi assistant is forced to cook the food at home and get it to the anganwadi.  On a visit to the centre on Tuesday, the Deccan Herald correspondent found that the one-kg sambar powder packet was empty.

 The centre requires up to 150 gram of the powder every day. V Susheela, teacher at the centre, was worried about the ingredients for the next day’s cooking. “A single one-litre packet of milk was given on April 10 to feed three undernourished children. We had to make do with that one packet till May 21, giving each child barely 20 gram of milk a day,” explained V Susheela. “The anganwadi centre was given no milk powder after that. There is now no milk for a new-born child too. When we inquired, the officers said they would supply.” 

Money issues 

 Susheela said the staff members at the centre have even purchased medicines for the three undernourished children.  “The amount was about Rs 3,000. The department has issued a cheque in the names of the children’s parents,” she said.


“The parents have been trying to open accounts at the Vakkaleri branch of Canara Bank. But the staff have been insisting that the account requires a minimum balance of Rs 500, to open. This has been preventing the parents from opening the accounts and we are yet to get any money,” she complained.

Hygiene is another casualty to the poor condition of the anganwadi. The roof leaks and construction of the kitchen and toilets has come to a standstill. 

Common feature 

 

Anganwadi centres at Lakshmipura, Nernahalli, Dandigyanahalli, Muduvatti, Jangalahalli, Parshvaganahalli, Chinnapura, Shettikottanur and Shettiganahalli are all in the same condition. Many children suffer from malnutrition but are not given the prescribed quantity of milk and eggs, says Hoohalli Nagaraj, member of the Adima Shakthi Students’ Youth Forum. He has been making a study of the malnutrition cases for the last one year in the anganwadi centres in the Gram Panchayat and said that although the number of undernourished children is pretty high in the area, officers of the Women and Child Welfare Department hardly pay any attention to them. Ravindra, the project officer for child development was recently suspended on charges of irregularities in purchase of supplies for anganwadis. A replacement has not been provided, and other officers are hesitant to take up the job. Asifullah Shariff, assistant director at the Women and Child Welfare Department, was made stand-in project officer for child development.

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