- Golipura Village in Sheopur has 461 malnourished kids, as per latest survey
- Government admits to 11 malnourishment deaths in 3 months in the village
- Madhya Pradesh has highest infant mortality rate, as per government survey
Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh: In Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur’s Golipura village, 11 children have died due to severe malnutrition in the last three months.
The village, which is 600 km away from state capital Bhopal, largely constitutes of people from primitive tribe of Sehariya.
In the latest survey conducted by the state’s health and women and child development department, 461 children are found to be malnourished. Of these, 100 are severely undernourished.
NDTV visited the house of daily wage worker Dhansu Adivasi and his 8-month pregnant wife Parvati who lost their one-year-old son a fortnight ago. Their son Aashiq was 5 kg and severely malnourished. This led to a series of health problems and ultimately death.
Dhansu Adivasi said, “My son suffered from fever and diarrhoea and started losing weight drastically. I took him to Vijaypur, Kailaras, Morena but couldn’t save him. We did not have money to give him a proper diet.”
A few houses away, an aganwadi worker and an ambulance driver were seen convincing Raja Ram and Mamta Adivasi to take their 1.5-year-old daughter Pooja to Sheopur Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre. Pooja weighed 4.5 kg and was in need of immediate medical care. The couple, however, was adamant on not admitting her.
Mamta Adivasi told NDTV, “We will not take our daughter to the nutrition centre. It is unclean and the doctors don’t take proper care. How will I manage there alone? How can anyone say she is going to die? Death is in the hands of God.”
As per Sample Registration System Baseline Survey 2013, Madhya Pradesh has the highest infant mortality rate in India.
While the government admits that in the last three months, 11 deaths have taken place in in Sheopur district, the activists claim the death toll to be 60.
After a spike in deaths, 24 day care centres have been set up by the Sheopur administration in the villages.
However, with only one worker managing the aanganwadi and day-care centre with 30 kids, the situation in Golipura village is not any better. Most of the kids are one-third of their ideal weight.
Speaking to NDTV, Ramnivasi Adivasi, Anganwadi worker, said, “I am managing the day care centre and the anganwadi centre alone here. I am facing problems managing two places together. If an official reaches anganwadi and I am at the day care centre, they scold me.”
Local tribe’s hesitation to seek medical help from the government has compounded to the problem in the area.
Chief Medical and Health Officer Sheopur, Dr R P Saral said, “Children in these tribal areas are not able to get supplementary food after they turn 6-month old. The men and women belonging to Sehariya tribe are less educated and are not aware about child nutrition. As a result, the child suffers and remains malnourished.”