Malnourishment death: Child welfare officers visit girl's family

Malnourishment death: Child welfare officers visit girl's family

The death of a six-year-old malnourished girl, Meghala, at Devarjeevanahalli on Wednesday, has propelled government agencies into action with the officials of the Department of Women and Child Development visiting her visually impaired mother Murgamma, and her 13-year-old sister Ruth, at their tin-roofed house on Friday.

The department officials have also ordered an inquiry into the ghastly incident.

Gurneet Tej, Director, Department of Women and Child Development, told Deccan Herald, “The department officials met the family and spoke to the anganwadi workers. We have compiled a report.”

The initial inquiry by the department has shown that the child was getting all benefits under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). “The child was enrolled in the anganwadi and was getting all the nutrients as per ICDS.

“She had been identified as undernourished and such children are supposed to get double meals under ICDS. We also heard the child was getting meals at a special camp being run in the area,” said Tej.

Food security

“The nutrients that a child gets under ICDS are supplementary. They need to be accompanied by other nutrients, which we think in this case the child was not receiving. This is an issue of food security,” she added.

Meghala’s mother Murugamma says she feels tired and lost. “When Meghala was born, I had some medical complications and hence couldn’t breast-feed her. That made her weak and physically challenged,” she says.

Murugamma says her own disability never deterred her. “I brought up kids on my own. My mother was a huge support, but she passed away five years ago. Meghala was a year old then,” she says.
Meghala’s sister Ruth is her only support now, and Murugamma says she is worried about her, too.
“Ruth used to take care of me and Meghala. From helping us walk on the streets to getting some food ready, she was the one who did everything. Since Meghala’s death, she hasn’t said much.”

Murugamma says, if not for some social workers in the area, she and her daughter would have died long ago. Entitled to a disability pension and BPL card, she says she has neither.

“I applied many times but haven’t received both. If I had got pension, maybe this would not have happened,” she says, asking this reporter suddenly if it had stopped raining.

“If it continues to rain, my house will start leaking and garbage will gush in,” she says, pointing to the pile of garbage outside.

“I have complained to the corporator and the Palike many times. But who listens to poor people?” she asks.

Later in the day, Murugamma received an Antyodaya ration card.

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