6,380 children up to the age of six died of starvation between April 2016 and August 2016 in the state.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has admitted that 6,148 infants and 6,380 children up to the age of six years died due to malnourishment from April 2016 to August 2016 in the state. After the Bombay high court had raised concerns over the deaths of infants and children in the state in September 2016, the state government had assured the court that it would take appropriate steps.
However, in the legislative council on Friday, health minister Deepak Sawant admitted that 6148 infants died due to malnutrition in Maharashtra between April and August 2016.
In the reply, the state health minister also listed out the various steps taken by the state government to reduce the deaths. Congress MLA Bhai Jagtap had raised the issue, asking the state government about the long-pending policy to curb malnutrition deaths. He asked the state government why there has been a delay in implementing the policy.
“As per the District Health Information Software (DHIS) report, 6148 infants died between April and August 2016 and 6380 children of the age up to the age of six years died in the state. Also, between April 2016 and November 2016, 881 mothers died,” Deepak Sawant said in the written reply. Mr Sawant also added, “the government has prepared a policy to provide nutritious food for the mothers, infants and children. The issue has been discussed with all the concern departments to have a better coordination.” The state has claimed that it has set up 33 special infant units and 166 infant stabiliser units across the state with a focus on tribal areas. The vaccination campaigns are underway, and the authorities are also counselling mothers of the infants.
The preventive measures like vaccination, free food and transportation facility have been taken by the state government, the minister said. The state had formed a task force comprising of top officials of the tribal welfare, women and child welfare, and health departments for better coordination to reduce malnourishment and infant mortality in the state. But the situation remains grim on the ground as per the figures. The government data stated that 21,985 child died in the state in 2015-16.