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Acute malnutrition in KBK districts of Odisha

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Reported by Ranjan Rath
Malkangiri, Dec 14:

Malnutrition has reached alarming proportions in the tribal dominated KBK (Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput) districts of Odisha.

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As per a recent study, while the overall malnutrition rate among children for the state stands at a high 39.2%, it is way higher in the backwards tribal districts of  Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and Keonjhar.

While Koraput has the highest number of children with malnutrition with 8836 cases, Mayurbhanj trails with 7904, followed by Nabarangpur with 6412 cases. Jagatsinghpur district in coastal Odisha has the least number of malnourished kids with just 203 cases.

A joint study by international humanitarian organisation Welthungerhilfe and local NGO Living Farms conducted in 52 villages of the KBK districts suggested that low literacy rate among tribal women is the leading cause of malnutrition of pregnant ladies in the backward districts

“To overcome this problem, the government of Odisha is piloting a project in Malkangiri districtt on malnutrition-related complicacations among children. The government plans to focus on creating awareness on health and nutrition among mothers, vaccination, breast feeding promotion and celebration of ‘Nutrition Day’ and ‘Mamta Divas,’“said Khairpur CDPO Sabina Lakra.

The project will be started on a pilot basis in the Bonda Development Agency in Khairpur block and Didayi Development Agenncy in Kudumulugumbha block of Malkangiri district. There are 30 villages under Mudulipada and Andrahal panchayats of Bonda ghati and 24 villages under Didayi Development Adency under Kudumulugumbha block, she said.

But the problem with most programmes launched by the departments of Women and Child Development and Health and countless NGOsis that they do not take into consideration the ground realities and the scio-cultural practices. No wonder, all the schemes have failed to have the desired effect.