The Fight of 44 Children Against Malnutrition
This story of the children in Raj Talaty School is common across India. According to a recent study by UNICEF, malnutrition happens to be the cause for 65% of death cases of children below the age of 5. Undernutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, and delays recovery.
HWCT visited the Raj Talaty school in Beed district, Maharashtra for a nutrition check of the children. Out of the 105 kids, 44 were found to be suffering from malnutrition, and 32 were barely clinging to the borderline. These children suffered from low immunity and were at great risk of developmental delays.
Having already implemented nutrition programs in several schools throughout Maharashtra, HWCT created a nutrition plan and arranged for vitamin supplies within 2 days. The school was provided with multivitamins tablets and was suggested changes in their school meal contents. Additionally, the concept of a weekly Fruit Day, Egg Day, and Milk Day was introduced to make sure that the children get the maximum possible variety of vitamins.
Today 38 out of the 44 students of the school have successfully fought the battle against malnutrition. The other 6 students showed improvement but were not out of the malnutrition zone. They are currently going through further medical checks and are expected to be healthy within a few months.
Child undernutrition is significantly ignored in several states in the country but again for most of these children a balanced diet is a luxury they can’t afford. The monetary compensation provided by the school and state in the form of mid-day meals is paltry and is most likely of little or no help. To help them live a long and healthy life community-based interventions must build on caregiving activities, and extend these to the nutritional needs of every child.