Tackling malnutrition in young children
According to the HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Survey, almost one in every five children in 112 districts of India is at risk of malnutrition. Rayagada in Odisha is one such district that is majorly occupied by the Khonds and Lanjia Soras tribes. When WOTR began working in Gunupur block in Rayagada district, the team realized that malnutrition is a severe problem in the villages and poses a high risk especially to children below the age of five.
Besides regular activities, WOTR also initiated the child Growth Monitoring Program in the community. The initiative aimed to fulfill 100% participation of 0-5 year old children in the program. The initiative strategically trains women in the community as Mahila Pravartak (health promoter). Each Mahila Pravartak undergoes a three-day training program and learns to use a growth monitoring chart and child growth assessment parameters. Then, each child’s measurement is plotted, and the results are shared with the mother.
The Mahila Pravartak works closely with the mothers of young children and educates them on the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
During the intervention, the team met Clementina, a 2.5-year-old born to Tesnati Sabar and Siba Sabar. Clementina exhibited severe symptoms of malnourishment, including stunted growth and poor weight. She was classified as orange (in the borderline of yellow) on the Growth Monitoring Chart. Her weight was about 2.5 kilograms less than her ideal weight.
Despite rigorous interventions and counseling, Clementina showed little improvement. WOTR’s Social Officer then finally consulted the Counsellor at Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre (NRC). On the recommendation of the Counsellor and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), Clementina was shifted to NRC, Gunupur for intensive care and treatment.
With proper care and attention, Clementina made significant progress during her first ten days at NRC, gaining 0.9 kg. Throughout the process, WOTR was in constant touch with Clementina’s mother Tesnati.
Clementina is now a healthy child and showing good signs of growth. Tesnati has realized the importance of tracking her child’s health on a regular basis. She is thankful to the WOTR team for identifying Clementina’s growth lag and taking timely action.