Malnutrition is a significant issue effecting children throughout Rajasthan. Government data shows only 3.4% of children aged between 6 - 23 months receive an adequate diet & 61% of children are underweight. People tend not to see malnourishment as a medical problem so do not seek treatment. When they do, hospitals are located far away, and parents lose vital income when they take children for treatment.
Seva Mandir’s intervention reaches children aged from 7 months to 5 years old from poor rural and tribal families. Our doctors & nurses provide treatment for SAM (Severe Acute Malnourished) children with Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Foods & routine medical care. SAM children who have larger medical complications are referred to hospitals for more intensive treatment.
But, the current pandemic scenario worsened the situation. During lock down- regular home visits, monitoring of children, nutritional assessment of children was discontinued, however, Balsakhis (children’s caretaker trained by Seva Mandir) continued counselling of mothers through phone calls and informal interactions. Earlier last year, 18% of children were underweight, which during the lockdown rose to 42%. However, after resuming of work, prevalence of underweight has decreased by 10% (42% to 32%). Despite of the current challenges, Seva Mandir is continuously working hard to improve the status.
Neha (name changed), a young and cheerful 4-year-old girl, has experience of medical care administered through Seva Mandir camps. Her father, who is an agricultural labourer takes care, alongside his wife, of Neha and her younger sister. Despite their efforts, both daughters suffer from malnutrition from combined causes of infrastructure absence and rural poverty. Neha and her sister accompany each other to Seva Mandir’s camps, where vital care is given from nurses and a Balsakhi.
Like many other infants in her village, Neha was a patient of diarrhoea caused by malnutrition through decreased nutrient absorption. She receives two daily meals from the Seva Mandir caretaker ensuring her dietary requirements are met by providing her with carbohydrates, protein, iron and other vital minerals. Now, Neha weighs 12 kgs, showing she is well nourished and with continuous striving from family and nurses she will soon live a healthy and prosperous life.
Had your support not been there, we would have not been able to help Neha and many more children like her. We hope that you continue to support our project in future and help eradicate the malnutrition. $10 from you can support the treatment for 1 malnourished child.
Best wishes and take care,
Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir team
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