Kavita (age 2)* and her parents belong to the village of Dediyapada in Gujarat. Both parents are labourers, and to make ends meet, they often migrate to different villages. Due to this, and the lack of basic facilities for the child’s health, Kavita’s heath started deteriorating. She started losing a lot of weight. The problem remained persistent and this made the parents come back to their village. They took her to a private practitioner, however she was not recovering. Feeling helpless, they showed her to a quack (a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have medical skill). Days went by, but Kavita did not show any good signs of recovery. She lost weight drastically and had severe acute malnourishment.
AVT (Adivasi Vikas Trust), one of CRY’s project partners in Gujarat, during home surveys came across Kavita’s family. They noticed the criticality of her condition and requested the parents to admit her to the hospital. They adviced and explained on how seeing a quack is the not the right step for their daughters’ health and that she needs the right medical help. However, the parents were adamant on seeing the quack. To further intervene on this case, AVT members had a discussion with ASHA and the Anganwadi workers. Post this all of them together had a meeting with the parents and interpreted the importance of proper medical assistance and that if she did not receive it at this point, it could be fatal. They informed them about the service of CMTC (Child Malnutrition Treatment Centre) where the child can be admitted, parents can stay with them and they will be provided with food and travel allowance as well. The parents were convinced and AVT members made all the arrangements. Kavita was admitted to CMTC, wherein she was given proper treatment with medicines and nutritious food. Within 14 days, she showed signs of improvement along with weight gain.
Owing to AVT members and the community coming together to guide the parents in the right way for the child’s health, today Kavita has recovered completely and is no longer malnourished. Today, the parents are playing the role of being advocates to childrens’ health; they have been spreading awareness within the community about government hospitals and CMTC in context of malnutrition and the ill-effects of going to quacks. They also regularly attend community meetings.
Just like Kavita’s parents, if all parents and communities participate and contribute in their own small ways towards children’s well-being, the world can be a healthier place for all children.
*The name of the child has been changed to protect her identity.
This case is from AVT (Adivasi Vikas Trust), one of CRY’s project partners in Gujarat.