'Awareness key to eradicating malnutrition'

In the order passed by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights this month, secretary AN Tripathi recommends larger awareness in rural areas and regular census to reduce cases of malnutrition

Showing concern for the number of malnourished children in the state, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) had asked the district women and child development officers to file a status report on malnourished children in the state last year. Officers had also been asked to submit the detailed action report taken in order to eradicate
the problem.

malnourished child
A file photo of a malnourished child at Katkaripada, Shahapur Taluka, Thane

In the judgment released this month, the commission issued notices to the concerned departments and asked them to file the status of children suffering from malnutrition.

The recommendations
While the reports gathered from various departments highlighted that the number of malnourished children is slowly decreasing (the figures have not been released), in the order passed by the commission, the recommendations include ensuring availability of food items, spreading awareness in the rural parts of the state and encouraging consumption of homegrown vegetables.

Other suggestions include the need for fortnightly door-to-door survey to take stock of newborn babies, pregnant and lactating women. The commission has also stressed on the need for community meetings, street plays and other similar projects in rural parts of the state to reach out to the community. A copy of this list has been sent to the state as well as central government officials, too.

Awareness is key
According to the commission, the efforts of government bodies might not be reaching the needy in remote areas. “Under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) although the number of malnourished children has going down, there’s still need for improvement,” said AN Tripathi, secretary, MSCPCR. He added that the recommendations have to be applied over and above the work already undertaken on the field. “Awareness is the key to solve this problem. It’ll be a long process to reach the day when no case of malnourishment will be reported, but we need to start somewhere,” said Tripathi.

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