Islamabad : More than 300 children aged under five have died in Tharparkar, Pakistan’s only Hindu majority district, in the last 11 months due to malnutrition and other complications.

The main causes behind the children’s death in Tharparkar district include birth asphyxia, pre-term, low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, delivery of babies through traditional birth attendants and diarrhoea, Dawn said today citing a government report.

The report, however, is silent about the lack of proper food in the region, an apparent effort to gloss over the official negligence. The private media has been highlighting the apathy of provincial authorities to deal with the emergency situation in the area for the last one year.

Instead of recognising its lapses, the government, through the report, blames the Hindu residents for their lack of good food choices.

It also said the vegetables have not requisite energy thus their intake of proteins, energy, fats and other requisite calorific values is relatively lesser to a major extent.

The report examines that the Thari people use chillies and dairy products as their intake for the reasons that they hold huge quantity of livestock and the use of chillies is their traditional pattern.

Thus, another factor for weaknesses in women revolves around the non-consumption of proteins-rich diet as well as following their cultural patterns which increase their weakness to a greater extent.

The report, which mentioned the figures between December last year and November this year, insisted that the diet of the Thar community today was similar to the one they used to take in the past and the antenatal care was missing.

Tharparkar, a desert district of the country’s southern Sindh province along India’s Rajasthan state, has been in the grip of drought for a long while. The report was submitted in the Sindh High Court by the chief secretary after the approval of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah last week.

It classifies the casualties of the children according to their age, which shows 118 children who died were newborn babies (one day age), 82 were between two days to one month and 28 children of 1.5 months to three months and 29 were between eight months and one year of age.

The report said the Thar communities, particularly women, lack awareness of their health concerns and majority of the married couple has an average of eight children.

The report, however, is silent about the lack of proper food in the region, an apparent effort to gloss over the official negligence. The private media has been highlighting the apathy of provincial authorities to deal with the emergency situation in the area for the last one year.

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