Rubina Khan Shapoo, Friday, February 2, 2007 (Shivpuri) :
In Madhya Pradesh malnutrition has gone up instead of down in the last decade.The government launched the Bal Shakti Yojna in October 2005 where special rehabilitation centres were created for extremely malnourished children. For the first time, the ICDS team and the health department began working in tandem.
NDTV team traveled to Shivpuri, one of the districts where they are aggressively implementing the scheme to see what difference has it really made.Medical treatment Three-year-old Dharmender weighs twelve and a half kg. It's a miracle considering he was severely malnourished, weighing barely six kg just six months ago.Parvati credits her son's recovery to the nutrition rehabilitation center in Shivpuri, where he received intensive medical treatment and nutritious food. She says she learnt how to take care of him.
Shivpuri and Guna districts in Madhya Pradesh are the only districts in Madhay Pradesh to have nutritional rehabilitation center.So far eight nutritional rehabilitation centres for severely malnourished children have been set up in Shvpuri.Children are kept for fifteen days, a month or longer depending on the severity of malnourishment. Like one-year-old Radha, who can barely move and weighs only three kg. The children begin their day with a piece of papaya. Dalia is given at ten and hot yummy vegetable khichdhi with ghee and sugar is served for lunch, followed by an afternoon siesta.Poverty factor Many attribute the success of the centres to the personal interest taken by the Collector of Shivpuri, who is a trained doctor."Out of 1500 children treated so far in these NRC's we could do the follow up of eleven hundred and eleven and the figure shows that almost seventy four per cent of them had weight increase and almost fifty percent of had grade improvement," said Manohar Agnani, Collector, Shivpuri
.But the programme's biggest challenge lies in the fact that many among the target group are unable to replicate the care at home. The parents live below the poverty line and typically both work as daily wage labourers. "I am a labourer. Here you are feeding me and teaching me how to do it. But I will only be able to follow all this if I have something in my house. How will I make all this there?" said Pushpa Jatav, mother of twins.However, one thing is clear though NRCs can help prevent malnutrition related deaths, to tackle malnutrition related deaths well run aaganwadhis with proper facilities for all the children is the only answer.