Help children fight against malnutrition.

by Child Rights and You
Help children fight against malnutrition.

2-year-old Kavita’s parents were daily-wage labourers from Dediyapada village in Gujarat. They migrated from village to village in search of work, to make ends meet. Their financial condition affected Kavita’s health severely and the lack of basic nutrition made it deteriorate. She lost a lot of weight and soon, she started suffering from severe malnourishment.

During one of their routine home surveys, CRY members met Kavita and noticed the severity of her condition. They realised that her parents didn’t have the means or the know-how to avail treatment. The team decided to intervene and quickly made arrangements to get her admitted at the Child Malnutrition Treatment Centre (CMTC). She was provided with proper treatment and nutritious food. 

With care, Kavita was nourished back to health in just 14 days! With the right guidance and help from CRY, today, Kavita has completely recovered and is a healthy child. Also, her parents are being the vectors of change, guiding the community about children’s health and spreading awareness about programs.

This has been possible only through the help and support of donors like you. Thank you!

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This is the story of Sahanuj Molla, 2 years and 8 months old, who was suffering from malnutrition. Sahanuj belongs to a poor and economically backward family from Kashipur village. A home visit by health workers by CRY revealed that the child not only weighed less, but was suffering from common cold as well as diarrhoea.

Once identified as a malnourished baby, CRY kept Sahanuj under special observation and got him to the Growth Monitoring session. It was confirmed that Sahanuj was a Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) child. He was admitted to the Nutritional Rehabilitation Center. His weight at the time of admission was 8.5 kgs. 

As a corrective measure, he was provided an institutional based nutritional care by the trained doctors and staff nurses for about 15 days. His mother was educated on child nutritional care and feeding practices. She was also taught the food preparation process. When the child was discharged, he was already showing positive trends on his nutritional status. After this, the child was provided with clinical follow up several times by the trained doctors and nurses.

With the help of the institutional based care, close follow ups by health workers and his mother’s focus on nutritional food, care and affection, the child has achieved its normal nutritional status gradually. Now, he weighs 9.6 kgs.

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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.

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Mayurbhanj is one of the largest districts in Odisha and is famous for its places of interests, mining & agricultural options and lush forest areas. However, in spite of all the opportunities, Mayurbhanj has been categorized as one of the country's 250 most backward districts. In this district lies Dilleswar village of Ranipokhari Panchayat and Kaptipada block. Rini Sahu (name changed), a 15 months old daughter of Milan and Kaveri Sahu, lives in Dilleswar. Rini also has 5 siblings. The Sahu family is marginal farmers and depend on daily wages to fend for the family.

In the month of July’17, CRY along with its grass-root partners like VCRO and others, launched a campaign to fight malnutrition across 5 districts of Odisha. When the intervention team reached Dilleswar village, they started monitoring children and noticed Rini weighs only 6 kilos; she also had been suffering from Malaria. Without wasting a day, the intervener, along with Anganwari workers consulted with Rini’s parents and informed them that Rini is suffering from Malnutrition and she should be taken to NRC urgently. At first Milan, Rini’s father, was hesitant as moving Rini to NRC will mean her mother will also need to be there with her and their family’s daily wage will suffer. He also stated that he couldn’t even afford a proper transportation cost. The interveners’ team not only continued the consultation but also arranged for a car so that Rini and her mother Kaveri can travel to NRC.

Rini was taken to NRC and stayed there for more than two weeks. She regained her health gradually and came back to her home. The intervening team further consulted the Sahu family so that they grow their own kitchen garden and feed proper meals to their family. Seeds and saplings were distributed in the village.

Today, if one visits the Sahu family, they can notice healthy growth of papaya, banana, greens and other vegetables. Rini is more than 8 kgs now and plays happily with her brothers and sisters. She also owns a teddy bear which remains by her side always. “We did not understand how grave the situation was. We almost lost her and the solution was not so difficult, yet we struggled.” Says Kaveri, teary eyed.
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5 children have a chance at healthy start to life. They are protected from malnutrition and related health issues.

YOU have made this possible and helped change their stories. 

Story of hope:

In a small village in the district of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal, 7 month old Anwesha (name changed) plays happily watched over by her doting parents. She is a beautiful and healthy baby and is a source of much joy to her fruit seller father and her mother. Baby is regularly taken in for check ups at the local ICDS center and all her immunizations are up to date – protecting her and ensuring she has a healthy start to life.

 However, it was not such a pretty picture for many babies, in this village ten years back. The families living in the village mainly belong to minority groups and had very little awareness on the necessity of health check ups and immunizations. Superstitions passed on through years – made the community believe that immunizations or any extra care provided to either young babies or pregnant mothers – interfered with their destinies and therefore should be left alone. There was a strong belief that the destiny of whether the baby or the mother survives is predetermined and immunizations or medical attention cannot make a difference to that. Therefore families and immediate care givers thought that these processes were a waste of time, effort and energy.

 In the last ten years, CRY – Child Rights and You through project SSDC, has been slowly but surely working with these communities to help do away with these superstitions and make them understand the necessity of medical attention and immunizations. While constant interactions and discussions and knowledge sharing with the communities helped somewhat, it was the actual proof of babies being born healthy and surviving the first year of their life that has helped the community come around – bit by bit. It has been an uphill climb but– a change has come about in the age old traditions.

Expectant mothers have now begun to approach health workers for regular check ups, nutrition, medication and immunizations. Anwesha’s mother was one such woman. The ASHA and the Anganwadi worker in turn kept a close watch on her during her pregnancy and the post natal period. The workers would not only visit her at home to check her status but would also remind her about her immunization schedule. Sometime, they would themselves accompany the young mother for her check ups and immunizations. They left no stone unturned to ensure that Anwesha's mother had a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery. This automatically led to her baby being born in a safe surrounding with proper medical help at hand. The baby’s immunization schedule was also started immediately and the process of follow ups were continued to ensure both the lactating mother and the new baby’s health.

Baby Anwesha and many more in her generation living in that little village have been given a chance at a healthy start and a brighter future.

These are the kind of stories that your contribution can help enable.

Some of the work that YOUR support has enabled for nutrition across India:

  • Babies are born safe and healthy – care of expectant mothers and institutional deliveries are a key in our projects
  • Immunizations are started immediately and continued till the cycle is over – regular follow ups are made to ensure babies are regularly brought in for vaccinations
  • Malnourished children receive immediate care to prevent permanent development damage – our team regularly works with service providers to identify children at risk and provide support and care till they are out of danger
  • ICDS centers are activated and children receive supplementary nutrition, pre primary education etc – ensuring ICDS networks are strengthened and proper service delivery is of paramount importance in our work
  • Sensitize communities and change attitudes – interact with communities to dispel myths and superstitions and help them make their lives and their children’s lives better
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Child Rights and You

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
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Twitter: @cryindia
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Bangalore, Karnataka India

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