S Sharma, IANS
The authors of the Triple 7 report said the picture in the field of primary education was equally bleak, due to lack of trained teachers and of basic facilities such as drinking water and toilets in the schools.
Madhya Pradesh is nowhere near reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals - by the 2015 deadline, if a mid-term evaluation report prepared by voluntary groups is anything to go by.And this in a state where a world record 3.3 million people across 42 districts took part in a government-sponsored 'Stand Up Against Poverty' campaign in October to achieve the MDGs - reducing poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and ensuring environmental sustainability.Now voluntary groups in the state have prepared what they call the 'Triple 7 Report' - after a mid-term evaluation of how far the state is from achieving the MDGs.
The report says Madhya Pradesh - where 4.5 million families live below the poverty line - has been found wanting on all fronts.'Malnutrition is a problem that has always been brushed under the carpet by politicians but the dire conditions in Madhya Pradesh now definitely call for some mandated moves', says Sachin Jain of Vikas Samvad, one of the groups behind the report.In Madhya Pradesh 82.6 percent of all children under the age of three are anaemic, according to the government's own recent National Family Health Survey - III. The corresponding figure for 1998-99, when NFHS II was carried out, was a low 54 percent.Sixty percent of all children under the age of three in the state are underweight, 51 percent are stunted and 20 percent are wasted, says the Triple 7 report.
Data collected during the state government's recent growth monitoring drive and Bal Sanjeevni Abhiyaan shows that 80,000 children are suffering from most severe malnutrition and are on the verge of death, the authors of the report say.According to NFHS III, only 22.4 percent of the children below the age of two have full immunisation coverage.The Triple 7 report says only 23 percent of the children are registered in Anganwadis -.In a state where 24 women die in childbirth every day, the maternal mortality rate is 379 per 100,000 live births - third highest in the country.The infant mortality rate - which counts children who die before the first birthday - stands at 76 per 1,000 live births.'Though the state has introduced many schemes to help combat maternal and infant deaths, they are not yielding the desired results due to bureaucratic hassles and corruption,' say activists responsible for the Triple 7 report.The activists refer to a recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India that benefits of the schemes do not reach 52-62 percent of the children and 46-59 percent of the pregnant and lactating mothers.And it is not as if private healthcare is stepping into the breach. The activists point out that expenditure on health has declined from 5.1 percent of total expenditure in 2000-01 to 3.4 percent in 2004-05.This is a state where 38 percent of the rural population do not have access to safe drinking water.
Madhya Pradesh accounts for 40 percent falciparum malaria cases in the country.The authors of the Triple 7 report said the picture in the field of primary education was equally bleak, due to lack of trained teachers and of basic facilities such as drinking water and toilets in the schools.The authorities also had to address issues such as the distance to the nearest school, midday meals and scholarships, the activists added.