Pune: The Women and Child Development (WCD) Department states that there are only 256 severely malnourished children and around 1,200 moderately malnourished children in Pune district since January, 2017.
In the numbers in the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) provided by the government, malnutrition, infant mortality and maternal mortality show a decline. But the ground reality in urban and rural setups tells a different story. Experts opine that the solution to malnutrition can only be sought if it is identified by the government and the authorities as a severe issue.
Speaking about the statistics shown by the government, Dr Abhijeet Vaidya, National President of Arogya Sena, said the authorities would never show the real statistics to people. “If the real problem of malnutrition is displayed in numbers, the government will need to give a solution and analyse the seriousness of this situation. But neither the previous government nor the current one is ready to accept it,” said Vaidya.
Govt turns blind eye
He added that in 2007, Arogya Sena had conducted a survey highlighting malnutrition in the urban organised sector. “The results were also published. The grim situation was accepted by then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh. But today, the current status of nutrition levels will not be discussed or made public by the officials, as they want to display only a beautiful picture of this country at a global level,” said Vaidya.
Proper data collection
In addition to this, speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Siddarth Dhende, Deputy Mayor of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), noted that the collection of data is another important aspect in understanding the situation.
“Many anganwadi workers, who are primarily involved in data collection, are not medically sound. Hence a lot of mistakes can be expected at the level of data collection. We can either take help from people who know what all criterion have to be involved in understanding malnutrition or train the anganwadi workers so that the loopholes are addressed effectively,” said Dhende.
However, WCD officials claim that anganwadi workers effectively do their work and the state of malnutrition in the district is better than other parts of Maharashtra. Deepak Chate, Deputy CEO at Women and Child Development (WCD), said that there are in total 2,57,992 children in Pune district between the ages of zero and five years.
“Around 2,20,260 children, which amounts to 94.62 per cent are normal. Around 11,835 children, that is 4.91 per cent, are moderately underweight and 1,139 children, which amounts to 0.7 per cent, are severely underweight in the district. We have a work force of 3,800 anganwadi workers monitoring these children and the condition,”
Survey area Anaemic children
*NFHS- 4 (Pune district) 53.4%
*NFHS-4 (Maharashtra) 53.8%
*NFHS-4 (India) 58.4%
*NFHS-4 (Pune district) 40%
*NFHS-4 (India) 50.3%
*NFHS-3 (Maharashtra) 57.8%
*NFHS-3 (India) 57.9%