The Telegraph
Thursday , December 20 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kids eye better health

Duggu, 8, may no longer overcome the protein energy malnutrition but children of his Biraul village will not suffer such a fate.

For, the State Health Society, Bihar, is going to tie up with Peace Nobel awardee international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to address malnutrition in villages with Rs 7-crore funds. To start with, they have selected Duggu’s district, Darbhanga, where the MSF has been working since the past three years.

N.K. Mishra, the programme officer of State Health Society, Bihar, said: “Though the social welfare department has been running several schemes to address the malnourishment problem, State Health Society, Bihar, also wanted to address this issue. That’s why we are going to sign an MoU with the MSF. We also intend to roll out our malnourishment programme in other districts.”

According to sources, Bihar has around 45 lakh malnourished children between 5 and 14 years and the situation of Darbhanga is quite grim.

“When we had started working on our project in Darbhanga district in 2009, we found 4.8 per cent malnourished children. Now, this percentage has gone up to 8. At present, 20 per cent of the children here are suffering from acute malnutrition while 4.8 per cent children in the district are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Last year, we did a screening of children patients at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in which we found 23 per cent suffering from severe malnutrition. So far, we have treated 12,000 children but there are many who are yet to get proper treatment,” said Binod Kumar, MSF deputy project coordinator.

Mishra said: “MSF will train accredited social health activists (Asha) to deal with cases of malnourished children. Asha workers will be told that if they find any complicated case, they will take the child to the malnourishment management unit, to be set up at DMCH. We are going to invest around Rs 7 crore in Darbhanga.”