Karnataka continues to be plagued by malnutrition

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Published on February 8, 2019 by

Despite several schemes by the state to tackle malnutrition, Karnataka is not able to get rid of it.

 

Many people in Karnataka living in slums and rural areas cannot afford nutrient rich food; as a result many children belonging to this section of society are suffering from malnutrition.

The government is trying to cater with the needs of malnutrition by providing various schemes under the umbrella of Integrated Child Development Scheme, example: mid day meal, deworming etc.  But…? Continue the thought.

A report published in the last Karnataka Family Health Survey (KFHS) says that Karnataka has one third population i.e. approximately 36  per cent of children under 5 years of age suffering from stunted growth and 26 per cent of them are suffering from wasting.

Rani, mother of a undernourished child, Mukul,  said, “ My child was underweight from birth. Now government is supporting by giving milk, banana, egg and cereals to him. We also get free health check-up every month for our child. ”

Lathika, a mother of a four year child, said that she is not aware of any scheme provided by government. She has migrated to Bangalore from Kakinada, a small town in Andhra Pradesh and she does not even have ration card to get benefits of Public Distribution System. She said, “We do not get any support from government. We eat from our earned money, without getting any subsidy from government.”

Many consider malnutrition or undernourishment to be the issue of economically backward people, but Dr. Vinod, a pediatrician from B.G.S. hospital has a different notion on it. He says, “It is a pre conceived notion that children from weaker socio-economic background suffer from malnutrition. But now there are lots of government program to provide required nutrition to them. It is the other malnutrition, i.e., obesity that is impacting the children higher economic background, due to the intake of lots of junk food.” Is this quote relevant here? Perhaps you should use another quote, or another expert?

Malnutrition in children is also caused due to undernourished mothers. While, there is a substantial increase in breastfeeding since KFHS-3, many infants are still deprived of the highly nutritious first milk and the antibodies it contains due to lack of nutrition in mother.

Dr. Veejayalaxmi, gynecologist from Shivpura layout, a slum says “If a mother is suffering from malnutrition then there is some risk to her health. But a child may also suffer from health risk, short growth and Down’s Syndrome”. She also said that out of hundred women she treats, five to six suffer from either mild or severe anemia which is a deficiency of iron resulting in excessive blood loss.

Dr. Shashikala Manjunathan, HOD of Community medicine in Rajarajeshwari medical college andhospital, said, “Government has taken a lot of action to decrease malnutrition through national nutrition Programme.”

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