Significant Number of Malnourished Children in District, Despite Existing Nutritional Programs

  May 19, 2023 By: INSEC

There is a significant number of malnourished children in the district despite the government and non-government sectors conducting various nutritional programs for the past few years.

According to the statistics of the current financial year of the Health Office, Darchula, there are more than 52 children, suffering from malnutrition in Lekam Rural Municipality alone.

Birendra Bhatt, Immunization Supervisor of the Health Office, Darchula said the examination of 24, 566 children of nine local levels of the district showed 356 malnourished children in the current financial year. In the previous fiscal year 022/023, there were 583 malnourished children in the district. Despite the improvement in the number compared to the previous year, the improvement is insignificant as per the investment.

According to Bhatta, Darchula, has the least number of malnourished children, 20 children, in Apihimal Rural Municipality. There are 49 malnourished children in Byas Rural Municipality, 43 in Duhun Rural Municipality, 47 in Mahakali Municipality, 38 in Naugad Rural Municipality, 36 in Marma Rural Municipality, 38 in Malikarjun Rural Municipality and 33 in Shailyashikhar Municipality. Lately, health institutions are conducting a ZScore measurement campaign to find malnourished children across the district.

Health Office, Darchula, all nine local levels, and non-governmental organizations are investing in massive amounts to eradicate malnutrition. Each local level is conducting the Deputy Mayor / Deputy Chairperson Program, Kosheli, to implement a government program ‘Sunaulo Hajar Din’, by celebrating nutrition-friendly birthdays of children and distributing chickens. However, there is no significant decrease in the number of malnourished children in the area.

Deputy Chairperson Madhavi Joshi said that Lekam Rural Municipality has launched the Kosheli program for women who are 1000 days pregnant.

He said – ‘This year, we have selected Ward No. 3 of Lekam Rural Municipality and organized the program.

Under this program, we have allocated a budget of Rs 250,000. We have been conducting such programs in the past as well, we decides to select individual wards after we could not implement the programs effectively in all the wards in a simultaneous manner. We continue to provide nutrition support through other programs in other wards.

Suahara program has spent 63.985 thousand 249 rupees in the district from 2016 to 2022 to address malnutrition in children. Nagendrasingh Dhami, Coordinator of the Suahara program, Darchula, said that the total budget is 6 crore 78 lakh 56 thousand 588 rupees, but due to covid and other reasons, we could not spend all the allocated budget.

He said that Suahara has provided counseling services to 33,333 households in 61 wards to improve the nutritional status of children under two years of age and pregnant women. It has improved the maternal and infant nutrition of 1,000 pregnant mothers and sent 958 malnourished children to health institutions for treatment.

District Coordinating Committee Chief Mahadev Badu said that even though NGOs, local governments, and the federal government spend a large budget on nutrition, there is still no improvement in nutrition and health. He said that it is necessary to work in such a way as to give rewards when conducting nutrition programs in the future.

Health Office, Darchula measures the arms of children for the vaccination card of children. They use red, yellow, and green tapes to measure. Red indicates a severely malnourished, yellow indicates a moderate condition, and green indicates a normal healthy measurement.

According to the statistics of the District Health Office, 2.5 percent of infants are underweight by birth in the district, only 60 percent are fully breastfed, and institutional delivery has increased by 86 %in the district.

There are two hospitals, 40 health posts, five urban health centers, 19 basic health units, 41 community health service centers, 144 vaccination centers, and 48 maternity centers in the district.

Narendra Singh Karki