SAM children, as the experts pointed out, have a much higher risk of death.
BHUBANESWAR: The malnutrition problem in Odisha, especially in rural areas, is a public health emergency and requires urgent interventions, experts working in the field of child nutrition told this newspaper on Tuesday.
As per the National Family Health Survey-4, the total number of under-five children in Odisha suffering from severe wasting (severe acute malnutrition or SAM) has increased from 5.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent in the last 10 years. As a result, the state is leading to high rates in malnutrition, poor health and hunger.
“Malnutrition is a socio-cultural problem which can create major setbacks for India. Odisha’s diluted public accountability, poor access and control over food and livelihoods’ entitlement programmes like Targeted Public Distribut-ion Programme, ICDS (Integrated Child Devel-opment Services), Supple-mentary Nutrition Progr-amme and Mid-Day Meal programme and National Rural Employment Guara-ntee Programme have not generated the desired impact on curtailing malnutrition,” Mrudula Phadke, a renowned child health expert and senior adviser to National Rural Health Mission, said.
In Odisha, community workers like the accredited social health activist, anganwadi and auxiliary nurse midwife play a central role in treating children with SAM. While the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) have been effective in treating children with complicated SAM, their cumulative efficiency may be in question. Scientific evidence shows that almost 90 per cent of SAM cases are uncomplicated and can be treated through community-based management (CMAM), adds Dr Phadke.
SAM children, as the experts pointed out, have a much higher risk of death. They can develop complications that can be fatal if untreated.
“SAM children without complications can be treated in the community. They need special therapeutic food with fine particle size. As many as 66 per cent of the children with SAM who consumed locally-produced therapeutic food under the Bal Sanj-eevani showed positive response to the treatment protocol,” she adds.