Health sector activists have opposed Maharashtra government’s proposed plan to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food packets for malnourished children citing poor pilot project results. The activists claimed that the pilot project had shown a very minor improvement among the selected children from Nandurbar district.
“The government is adamant on providing ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children despite the pilot project in Nandurbar showing poor results,” Purnima Upadhyay, coordinator, Jan Arogya Abhiyaan told reporters on Wednesday.
Jan Arogya Abhiyaan is a people’s health movement. “The pilot project results revealed that of the 14 malnourished children selected under the programme, just two showed improvement while remaining 12 continued to be malnourished.
“As long as the food paste packets were served the children gained weight but after the paste was stopped, they started losing weight again,” she claimed. Upadhyay claimed that some children have become “kind of addicted” to the sweet paste and refused to eat home cooked food. This was certainly not the idea behind the pilot project, she said.
“Both the Supreme Court and Centre guidelines say women organisations and self help groups need to be roped in to provide local nutritious food to the malnourished children.
“But here we can see the whole scheme being tailor-made to suit the contractor who can supply the paste,” said Brian Lobo, an activist who works for malnourished children in Palghar district.