July 17, 2016 2:43:12 am
Following reports that 17 children of a village have died of malnutrition-related diseases in the past six months, the Odisha government has started an emergency “feeding programme”.
Since January, 17 children of the primitive Juanga tribe have succumbed to pneumonia and bronchitis in hamlets of Nagada village in Jajpur district. Five of these children have died in the past 20 days. Officials said lack of proper road connectivity is one of the hurdles in providing nutrition and health services to Nagada, which has a population of 579.
District collector Satya Mallick said his officials have started feeding rice and lentils to children of the village from Friday.
“The children’s ribs are visible and their bellies look swollen. Surely, malnutrition is the cause of death,” said Renuka Dehury, sarpanch of Chingudipal grampanchayat, under which Nagada falls. “Though there is an anganwadi centre in the village, the worker posted there stays at Deogan, about 10 km away.
From Deogan, the village is a four-hour walk, she said.”
The nearest hospital is at Kaliapani, 18 km away.
Officials said the tribals were also reluctant to avail healthcare facilities. Public health extension officer Rashmiprava Khatua said they were loathe to take medicines as it went against their beliefs.
District collector Mallick said lack of general hygiene was also a cause of the malnourishment.
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