A majority of the 44 children from Jawahar district who were examined by a team from BJ Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital were found to be malnourished. The health camp, led by BJ Medical College Dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale, was conducted in Vanvasi Ashram Shala, Beriste ( Mokhada), on October 28 to assess the children for malnourishment and other health related problems.
Maximum number of children examined were over the age five. Out of whom, only two were younger than five years, while just one fitted in moderate acute malnutrition.
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Children over five years were found to be undernourished. It was also found that majority of children were having Vitamin A deficiency and fungal skin infection (Tinea).
The main reason for malnutrition and other ailments are faulty feeding practices and poor hygienic practices, said Dr Sandhya Khadse, Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatrics.
Sharing his experience at the camp, Dr Khadse said that the diet of these children mainly includes daal and rice, of which the daal is very watery in consistency. The children enjoy the meal served at school but pulses are lacking in diet. They were very interactive and one of the children could also read English.
“This was a hilly region with housing of a few families, around 30-40, called ‘pada’. These families are also migratory in nature which results in poor follow-up and accessibility of patients, especially children. Most of the time parents are working at the farms and children are alone throughout the day, resulting in poor supervision of their dietary intake, which is another cause of malnutrition,” he said.
The anganwadi workers too came forth with difficulties in keeping track of the children due to seasonal migratory population, following which the team of doctors further counselled the anganwadi workers about nutrition and dietary requirements and on monitoring the growth of these children. Multivitamin, iron-folic acid syrups, calcium supplements were also provided to the workers for distribution among the “pada”, after teaching them common clinical features of Vitamin deficiency. Malnutrition is a life-threatening condition for children below the age of five. Hence, camps have to focus on children in that age group, Chandanwale said.
A monitoring system for children living in “pada” needs to be developed as these are the missed cases, he added.