Activists Oppose Maharashtra’s Ready-To-Use Food Packets Scheme For Malnourished Children

Of the 14 malnourished children chosen for the pilot project, only two showed improvement, said activist Purnima Upadhyay.

Mumbai: Maharashtra government’s proposed plan to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food packets for malnourished children has not found approval from the health activists.

According to the activists, when the packet containing a sweet paste was given to malnourished children in a pilot project in Nandurbar district, the improvements shown were very little.

“The government is adamant on providing ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children despite the pilot project in Nandurbar showing poor results,” Purnima Upadhyay, coordinator, Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, apeople’s health movement was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

Of the 14 malnourished children chosen for the pilot project, only two showed improvement while the rest continued to remain malnourished, she said.

Ms Upadhyay claimed that when the food paste packets were being given, the children gained weight, but as soon as they stopped taking them, they lost weight again. Moreover, the children tend to get “addicted to the sweet paste” and refuse to eat home-cooked food. Certainly not an idea behind the pilot project, she said.

Brian Lobo, an activist who works for malnourished children in Palghar district, told PTI that as per the guidelines by the Supreme Court and Centre, women organisations and self-help groups need to be roped in to provide local nutritious food to malnourished children, however, “here we can see the whole scheme being tailor-made to suit the contractor who can supply the paste.”

(With Inputs From PTI)

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