The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to start a door-to-door drive to find and treat malnutrition cases in the city, considering the initiative had stopped during the pandemic due to anganwadis being shut. Doctors said there is a need to keep a tab on malnourished or undernourished children as they are likely to become more vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 due to low immunity and several other underlying health issues.
According to a report compiled by NGO Praja (a non-partisan organisation that conducts data-driven research and provides information on civic issues) analysed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s (MCGM) school health check-ups and deaths data in the city and found that 17 per cent children in anganwadis across Mumbai were underweight in 2018-19, of which, 2,713 were severely underweight. The report had also highlighted that of the 2,26,066 students who were screened at BMC-run schools, 7,383 were reported underweight and 1,421 were overweight, reflecting the double burden of malnutrition.
It further revealed that 2,212 of these students had a vitamin A deficiency, and 1,652 had a deficiency of vitamins B, C and D, all of which are primarily caused due to nutritional deficiencies in the diet.
The civic body, which is also starting a similar drive to trace tuberculosis patients in the city, plans to start the drive by next week. Mankhurd, Govandi, Malad-Malvani are few of the areas that house a section of society vulnerable to and suffering from malnutrition.
A senior health officer from the civic health department said the health of malnourished children, which has taken a back seat during the pandemic, needs to be addressed on an immediate basis.
Meanwhile, according to a reply to a Right to Information query quoting the Poshan tracker, Maharashtra registered the highest number of malnourished children at 6,16,772, with 1,57,984 suffering from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), and 4,58,788 severe-acute-malnutrition (SAM) children. Number two on the list is Bihar with 4,75,824 malnourished children (3,23,741 MAM children and 1,52,083 SAM children). Gujarat registered the third highest number of such children at 3,20,465, with 1,55,101MAM children and 1,65,364 SAM children.
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