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Hundreds of children die of Malnutrition in MP

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  • Salem Voice Ministries
    Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh, India), SVM News, September 15, 2008: Hundreds of infants under five years of age have lost their lives due to malnutrition in four
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2008
      Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh, India), SVM News, September 15, 2008:
      Hundreds of infants under five years of age have lost their lives
      due to malnutrition in four districts of Madhya Pradesh in India
      since May 2008.

      According to a petition filed in the Supreme Court by Right to Food
      Campaign in Madhya Pradesh, 64 Bhil children have died of
      malnutrition in Satna since late April.

      Similarly, Spandan Seva Samiti, which works among the Korku tribe in
      Khalwa block of Khandwa, has reported the deaths of 39 children in
      the past 45 days and nearly 100 are still undergoing treatment in
      various government hospitals in the district.

      The Saharia Mukti Morcha, involved with the impoverished Saharia
      tribe in Shivpuri and Sheopur, said 16 children had succumbed to
      malaria in Shivpuri and five in Sheopur within the last few days
      because their immunity was destroyed by severe malnutrition.

      Salem Voice Ministries says that there is a large number of
      malnourished children in all over the state of Madhya Pradesh and
      hundreds of children dying each month, but no action has been taken
      by the government.

      But the local authorities and the government have stubbornly refused
      to accept that the deaths were due to malnutrition, attributing them
      to disease instead.

      Kusum Mehdele, the state minister of Women and Child Development
      (WCD) says the deaths were caused due to diseases like pneumonia,
      viral fever and diarrhoea, but not due to malnutrition.

      Vijay Anand Kuril, the District Collector of Satna insisted in his
      reply to the commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court to
      investigate seven infant deaths that occurred in Satna's Uchrecha
      block, that these were due to heat stroke, encephalitis and food

      S. B. Singh, District Collector of Khandwa, who ordered an inquiry
      after reports of the death of 21 children in Khalwa block were
      carried in the Bhopal edition of Hindustan Times also refused to
      concede that they were caused by malnutrition. He was blissfully
      unaware that the figure had risen to 39 since the report appeared.

      However, the report of a survey by a committee appointed last month
      by the Divisional Commissioner, Indore, did concede that some of the
      deaths in Khandwa could have been due to undernourishment.

      "I can categorically state that Jamwati, the four-year-old child who
      died on Thursday in our hospital, was suffering from acute
      malnutrition, along with pneumonia and septicemia," added Dr Laxmi
      Baghel, chief medical and health officer at the Khandwa district
      hospital. Another doctor also said that 68 malnutritioned children
      had been admitted to their hospital on September 4, a single day.

      The NGO's were active in the state to ensure food security to the
      people and have conducted the two-month long family health survey to
      arrive at the figure of 125 deaths due to malnutrition in just four
      districts of Madhya Pradesh. Survey estimates that it affects in
      varying degrees around 33,000 children. The reasons are no mystery -
      most of these children belong to abysmally poor labourer families,
      whose daily earnings - when they are able to find work - rarely
      cross Rs 50-70.

      Rev. Saji Iype
      (Director, Salem Voice Ministries)
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