The tribal-dominated Mokhada taluka in Palghar district is grappling with severe child malnutrition, with nearly 28 per cent children at recent health camps there found severely underweight.
State Health Minister Deepak Sawant visited the camps held at five villages in the taluka Tuesday and also met family members of two minors who died of malnutrition in the past 10 days, health officials said.
Nearly 342 male and 345 female children upto the age of six were examined at the camps by doctors.
Of them, 52 were found to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 162 from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
Besides, 189 children were diagnosed to be severely underweight, a health department official said.
The minister gave directions to District Collector Abhijit Bhangar regarding measures to be taken to curb such cases.
Sawant also told reporters during his tour that the vacant posts of paediatricians and gynaecologists in the taluka hospitals would be filled soon.
He said one of the reasons for the health problems in the taluka was migration of tribals to other places in search of jobs.
Palghar zila parishad member Prakash Nikam claimed that since July nearly 17 children died of malnutrition in Mokhada taluka alone.
The Shiv Sena leader demanded that the state government act and check the growing cases of malnutrition among the children.
Former MLA Vivek Pandit, the founder president of Shramjivi Sanghatana, an organisation working for the uplift of tribals, also criticised the government for its “apathy” leading to health problems in the rural areas.