THE state government has put together a task force to tackle malnutrition in Palghar, eight months after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked several departments to present a combined report on the methods to control malnutrition in the district.
In 2016, the tribal district recorded 557 child deaths, which peaked during July and August, with 66 and 93 deaths, respectively.
The state health department has this year introduced Child Treatment Centre (CTC) in eight primary health centres in Jawahar and Mokhada that have reported one of the highest malnourishment cases in Maharashtra. The CTC specialises in treating severely acute malnourished children who suffer from infection affected by malnutrition.
“We have also identified high-risk villages near 23 sub-centres. Those who migrate outside Palghar usually return during this season. They will be screened and monitored,” said Dr Archana Patil, joint director at the Directorate of Health Services. In Jawahar, 476 kids have been identified to have migrated back to Palghar to spend the monsoon season there.
State health minister Deepak Sawant said that routes around critical villages will be mapped to provide 108 emergency ambulance service. In addition, health workers have been instructed to visit severely acute malnourished children in each village daily to prevent deaths. The district has 46 primary health centres and 12 sub-district and rural hospitals. Of 223 posts for doctors and administrators, 64 currently remain vacant.
In the report submitted by health department to the state government, the major cause of children’s deaths was analysed to be premature delivery, followed by pneumonia, birth asphyxia and septicemia. According to doctors, malnutrition affects immunity of a child, making him prone to infections. The report also lists the responsibilities of women and child development department and tribal, agriculture, and food and civil supplies department to help control malnutrition.