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Rajasthan’s move to provide therapeutic food helps tackle malnutrition

The Hindu Mar 24, 2017, 04:22 IST Mohammed Iqbal

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The State government’s move to provide vitamin-enriched and ready-to-use therapeutic food to malnourished children has borne fruit, with a large number of youngsters now leading healthy lives.

The Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM)— a project undertaken by the government in December 2015— has helped in treating 9,117 children below 5 years who were suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). UNICEF, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and Action Against Hunger are the project partners.

Nutrition kit

Karauli in eastern Rajasthan is among the 13 districts where the initiative was launched in its first phase. Here, doctors at the primary health centres and accredited social health activists (ASHA) have been working to identify and provide the nutrition kit to children. The kit usually consists of an energy-dense nutrition supplement, locally known as Poshan Amrit , antibiotics and de-worming tablets.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Vishakha, a resident of Fatehpur village situated 18 km away from Karauli, survived after the intervention of village ASHA Bebi Devi. A year ago, she was suffering from diarrhoea and fever and was not eating anything for several days at a stretch. Vishakha’s father Ramdayal Koli, a construction labourer, told The Hindu that the girl was first admitted to the Malnutrition Treatment Centre in Karauli for 15 days, after which Ms. Devi gave the kit to the family.

Survivor's stories

For the next two months, the activists visited Mr. Koli’s home every day to review the girl’s health condition. Vishakha has now recovered and gained weight. She also regularly attends the Anganwadi centre in the village.

Similarly, four-year-old Radhika and three-year-old Kanha in Fatehpur have overcome the risk of mortality after regularly consuming the ready-to-use food. Karauli Chief Medical and Health Officer, Ramroop Meena, said the CMAM had turned out to be “very successful” in the district and the Todabhim block had been recently felicitated for its achievements.

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