After Malnourishment Deaths, Sheopur’s Nutrition Centres Overburdened

Children are forced to sleep on the floor as no beds are available for malnourished children at the overcrowded nutrition centres in Sheopur.

Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh: The three nutrition rehabilitation centres in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh had handful of children in August. Today, they are overcrowded.

The centres, nearly 450 km from Bhopal, can cater to 80 children at one time, but are now accommodating over 400 children.

11 malnutrition deaths have been reported from the district recently. Activists are seeing the overcrowding of centres as administration’s knee-jerk reaction.

On Friday, three-year old Varsha’s mother brought her for urgent medical care to Vijaypur Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre. No one attended her for hours.

Like many, she had to sleep on the ground since the 20-bed centre currently has 90 malnourished children.

malnutrition in sheopur
Children and their parents wait for hours at the centre but do not get any medical attention.

Her mother Kharela Bai told NDTV, “No doctor has come to see my child. They have not given me a bed. If we sit on the ground, the child’s health will worsen, but what can we do?”

Chances of infection at these overcrowded centres are high as the basic hygiene is often absent.

24-year-old Bahanti’s eight-month-old son Amir Kanha who weighs 4.3 kg to the hospital had not been attended to for three days.

Bahanti said, “They have given us a mattress and we sleep on the floor. My child is not getting proper medical care here.”

Talking about this situation, Sheopur Collector Panna Lal Solanki said, “One can call these malnutrition related deaths our failure but it’s not. We have called doctors from other districts to attend to the malnourished children.”

He added, “We have a long-term plan. We have opened 24 day care centres where malnourished children will be fed 3-4 times a day. These centres are being managed by anganwadi workers and we will run them till this problem of malnutrition comes under control.”

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