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Kothagudem: Children from the agency areas are suffering from acute malnutrition and the mortality rates of both the mother and the children are quite alarming if the official statistics are any indication.

This is attributed to lack of awareness, illiteracy and poverty.

It is criticized that the problem has arisen since the medical and health staff and Anganwadi workers, who are saddled with the responsibility of sensitising the agency people on nutrition and give them diet and medicines, are not functioning at optimum level to improve nutrition of the mother and child.

To quote an example, 10-month-old Kongatla Mounika is supposed to weigh at least 3.2 kg, but weighs only 1.650 kg. Similarly, the 14-month-old Marmam Tejasvi is weighs only 6.37 kg as against the required 8.7 kg.

A child hailing from Singanapalli village across the border in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Madakam Manoj (5) has had his belly protruded because of severe nutritional deficiency.

The National Nutrition Week this time focused on improving the nutritional status of the children below 5 years as early as possible through sensiting people on the breast feeding.

 The ITDA at Bhadrachalam used to take care of nutritional needs of many children at its rehabilitation centre. However, it was mired in financial issues. Therefore, the 10-bed rehabilitation centre was shifted to the Area Hosptial at Bhadrachalam with a monthly allocation of Rs 64,500.

But the facility is providing nutritional support to more than the prescribed limit, since children with severe malnutrition throng the facility not only from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, but also from Chhattisgarh.  Of late, the bed strength of the facility has been increased to 20 on demand.

Prior to merging the facility with the Area Hospital, the facility at ITDA treated over 15,105 babies suffering from severe malnutrition. It provided the support to over 1,079 in 2010, 1,102 in 2011, 1,036 in 2012, 542 in 2013, 380 in 2014, 316 in 2015, 238 in 2016 and 157 in 2017.

Normally, the babies turn around within a fortnight. Special treatment is provided to those whose nutritional status do not improve after a fortnight. In addition to the treatment, parents are given Rs 1,500 for fortnight towards transportation expenses. 

Nutritionist and district medical officer Dr Ayyadevara Rambabu said that the breast feeding the babies would help them acquire protein and minerals.

Babies fed on breast milk will grow healthy and free from diseases. The mother will also be free from health problems like anaemia. Nutritional food should be given to babies according to their age and weight. He advised the youth to take food that is rich in calcium and protein.