Give Poor Children from Bihar a chance for Health

 
$10,054
$0
Raised
Remaining
Feb 6, 2012

A National Shame for India

Neelam with baby boy found in Field
Neelam with baby boy found in Field

Dear Supporters,

Hello everyone and greetings to you all from Bihar, India.

For more information about the Baby Boy in our photo please visit our Facebook Page ( the link is below.)

If you are not aware of the Prime Ministers comments about the number of hungry children in todays India, I thought it would be interesting for you to see the following article from the Economic Times published recently.

NEW DELHI: India's Prime Minister called malnutrition in the country "a national shame" on Tuesday as he released a major survey that found 42 percent of children under five were underweight.
"The problem of malnutrition is a matter of national shame," Singh said at the launch of the HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Report, which surveyed 73,000 households across nine states.
"Despite impressive growth in our GDP, the level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high. We have also not succeeded in reducing this rate fast enough," the 79-year-old prime minister added.

Singh said the findings of the report by an alliance of non-government organisations were both "worrying and encouraging" for India -- a fast-growing country of 1.2 billion people with the highest number of children worldwide.

The research found the proportion of under-fives who are underweight had declined 11 percentage points in seven years, but Singh said it remained "unacceptably high" at 42 percent.

"We cannot hope for a healthy future with a large number of malnourished children," he said.
India's economy has boomed in the last 20 years since a liberalisation wave began in 1991, with GDP growth rates of nearly 10 percent in the last decade helping to change perceptions of the country.

Foreign companies and India's powerful conglomerates have invested heavily, selling vast quantities of cars, luxury goods and Western lifestyle products to the growing middle classes.

It seems the wealth created in a country estimated to have 57 billionaires last year had not trickled down fast enough to the impoverished masses.
Measured by the prevalence of malnutrition, India is "doing worse than sub-Saharan Africa," she told AFP, echoing observations made by UN children's agency UNICEF.

This is despite the world's biggest government programme for early childhood development, called the Integrated Child Development Scheme, which is seen as riddled with corruption and inefficiency.

We see real hunger almost very day in our work in the villages of South Bihar.

I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that in the cold winter months a nourishing hot meal saved lives this year especially amongst young children.

Thanks to you we were able to provide over 250 hot meals a week, directly benefiting the very poor and underfed who needed this help the most.

Thank you for your support.

Neelam

Links:

Dec 12, 2011

Hot Food For Winter Days

Clean Plates for a healthy Meal
Clean Plates for a healthy Meal

Compliments of the season to all of you, from Bihar in India.

Here cold foggy mornings and chilly nights are already upon us.

I thought I would start this update by referring to the terrible epidemic of Japanese encephalitis in our District, Gaya. This from a press agency (PTI) dated the 8th December 2011.

Suspected Japanese encephalitis, which causes irritation and swelling of the brain, has claimed three more lives since Wednesday, taking the toll to 92 children in Bihar’s Gaya district in the last three-and-half months, an official said.

“Three more children died since the last 24 hours,” an official said Thursday. The children reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions. Most of the children belonged to poor families.

The first encephalitis-related death in the district this year was reported Aug 23.

All the children died at the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH) in Gaya, about 100 km from Patna, said district health officials.

The hospital’s paediatrics department head, Dr. A.K. Ravi told IANS on phone that till date, 92 children have died due to the disease. More than 395 children with suspected encephalitis were admitted for treatment.

“Most of the children are from rural areas of Gaya and neighbouring districts. Over two dozen children are still battling for their lives,” he said.

Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain resulting either from a viral infection or when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the brain tissue.

I am pleased to report however that our health team has not found a single case in the villages where we work, due to immunisation from the team,and good health advice and communication with our village health workers.

And of course the hot nutritious meal really plays such an important part in maintaining the health and well being of children.  

And the vitamin supplements and other benefits to children’s health that this appeal has enabled.

Thanks to your help hundreds of children have enjoyed a healthy hot meal at the cost of just one US dollar per meal. As senior practice nurse for the project I can personally vouch for the joy happiness and proven health benefits these meals bring for these very poor children.

Thank you all so much for your kindness.

the photo shows that other key factor for health, clean water. The children are washing thier plates from a deep bore water pump paid for by another ongoing appeal on Global Giving, "Clean water in village India!

May you and your family have a wonderful New Year!

Neelam

Links:

Sep 24, 2011

Poverty comes cheap at 50 cents a day in India

Project Village
Project Village

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from Bihar , India.

Firstly I want to thank you all for your kind support of the healthy meal programme on GlobalGiving in recent weeks.

Due to your kindness we have been able to offer a healthy meal of eggs, Dal and rice with healthy oil to desperately poor women and children. This has a very beneficial effect of child malnutruition.

We are really concerned abour food inflation as prices are rising beyond the reach of the very poor.

Look out for new pictures of the meal programme which will be posted on our website, on our facebook page, and in our next report; you can find the links below.

I include in this report an article from Business Insider published on September 21st,which is so staggering that it does not really require any further comment from me,

Despite Record Food Inflation, India Draws The Poverty Line At 50 Cents Per Day

India's Planning Commission, in charge of assessing the country's present economy and calculating for the future, has told the Supreme Court that 25 rupees a day -- roughly 50 cents -- is "adequate" for villagers to spend on food, education and health care, according to BBC News.

Even for city dwellers, who were allotted a few more rupees per day in the report (equaling 62 cents), this assessment falls well below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25/day.

The Supreme Court had asked for updated figures from the Commission in the face of inflation in India, which at a 13-month high of 9.78 percent.

A resonable estimate is  that on 50 cents a day, a family can spend 11 cents on cereals, 5 cents on milk, 4 cents on vegetables and 3 cents on oil. The rest must be distributed in shelter, medicine and if possible education.

If those numbers seem ridiculously low -- well, they are. Critics of the panel's report say that the Indian government is trying to lower the number of people under the poverty line, not by improving their lives but by changing the definition of "poverty."

There is no exact figure for the number of India's 1.2 billion people in poverty, but a 2005 World Bank Estimate put it at 41 percent.

Again with so much thanks to all of you for helping us feed these hungry children,

Neelam


Links:

Jul 5, 2011

Bihar’s food security situation alarming,

Welcome food at Dadpur Village
Welcome food at Dadpur Village

Greetings to all our friends and supporters.

I would like to start with the good news. The monsoon has come and so far it is better than last year here in South Bihar. This will hopefully continue as a third of drought would be disastrous.

It is easy to imagine perhaps that India as a growing economic power is having an effect on alleviating poverty. That everybody can now afford the food they need, the housing and are receiving good medical care and education.

Please consider this report from an expert appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate hunger here in Bihar,

More than half of Bihar’s 100 million population is malnourished, while 70 percent of women and children below the poverty line (BPL) are anemic, a Supreme Court-appointed official said in a report Thursday.

“About 55 percent of the population is malnourished and 70 percent women and children below the poverty line are anemic,” said a report by Rupesh, state adviser to the commissioner of the Supreme Court-appointed committee to monitor the implementation of food-related schemes.

According to state government estimates, Bihar has 1.45 crore BPL families. However, the central government puts the figure at 65 lakh.

The report said that drought and flood have further aggravated the situation, with farmers and landless workers being forced to migrate to cities to look for jobs.

Bihar has been hit by severe drought for two consecutive years. In 2009, 26 of the 37 districts were declared drought hit. Last year, the state government declared all districts as drought hit.

“Implementation of the welfare schemes, health scheme and work schemes have not been accelerated, resulting in deterioration in the condition of the poor.”

“Our survey of status of the implementation of schemes like integrated child development scheme, mid-day meal scheme, the public distribution system, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme….in 33 villages of seven districts shows that the government’s efforts to check malpractices are not sufficient,” the report added.

The report added that the agriculture sector has been neglected, though over 80 percent population is dependent on it for sustenance.

“Apart from major leakages and corruption, the coverage of government food schemes is so meagre that they leave huge gaping holes in the social security net, through which large numbers of most destitute people slip into starvation and hunger,” said Rupesh.

This report indicates only too clearly the reality of the situation here in the villages of Bihar. We can only do what we can locally promoting good health care practices treating malnutrition and giving a warm healthy protein rich meal.  

Please help us in our efforts.  It really does make a difference.

Please visit our Facebook page

www.facebook.com/pages/People-First-India/106083302779969 (but the Link is below)

and our website which also has direct links to Global Giving.

Thank you so much for all your support

 


Links:

Apr 18, 2011

Still too many hungry children

Health Project Village in Bihar
Health Project Village in Bihar

Dear Supporters,

Again may I express my thanks for your support for our programme, you can rest assured every single cent is put to good use feeding hungry children.

We hope to post some new photographs very soon.

Here in Bihar the dreaded hot season is approaching, water is becoming even more critical and with the heat comes danger of heatstroke and other diseases. We will continue to do whatever we can with your assistance to help the children.

Please see a very new newspaper report concerning malnutrition.

With heartfelt thanks and kind regards,

Neelam

Widespread malnutrition among children in state

Bihar has 58 per cent malnutrition amongst children which is way above the national average of 36 per cent. Several factors are responsible for high incidence of malnutrition in children which include non-availability of health services, absence of community workers, low institutional delivery and non-access to cheap medicines.

These apart, cultural practices as early marriage and pregnancy that contribute to higher malnutrition rate in the state.

According to the government’s own figures over 20% in certain rural areas are severely malnourished.  

There are other hindrances, too, that include non-access to cheap medicines, low intake of nutritious food, low birth weight babies and non-spacing and anaemia amongst women.

The Times of India

Patna April 2011

Neelam at work
Neelam at work

Links:

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Project Leader

Nick Hansen

Project Liason Officer
Bodhgaya, Gaya, Bihar India

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