Representative Image I Photo: Pradeep NM
Kalpetta: Majority of malnutrition cases in Wayanad have been reported from tribal communities here. According to the data in August, as many as 60 children suffered from severe nutrition deficiency, out of which 47 children belong to tribal communities. Though most of the children seeking treatment at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in Sulthan Bathery are tribals, no considerable improvements have been recorded in their health status.
Even after diagnosing severe malnutrition, officials in NRC are unwilling to admit the tribal children. If admitted, no required treatment or awareness are being given to the patients in several cases, alleged the people who visited NRC for treatment.
The deficiency of a balanced diet has caused the current situation among tribals in Wayanad. Many of the tribal hamlets have shifted from their traditional diet, but they could not achieve a habit of balanced diet so far.
Cases of anaemia and malnutrition increased when the forest resources and meat became unavailable for the tribal population. Children and pregnant women are severely hit by the nutrition deficiency. Along with this, liquor consumption of women during pregnancy results in low birthweight of babies. In most instances, children refuse to consume nutritious food and grains distributed via anganwadis and opt to follow the diet of elders.
The health experts recommended interventions in this sector after gaining the trust of tribals by incorporating the traditional diet of them. An integrated effort of several departments, including Scheduled Tribes Development Department, Department of Health, Integrated Child Development Scheme has been required. The social activists working for the welfare of tribals could be also included if necessary.
Details of people who sought treatment in NRC
|Period||Number of total patients||Number of ST children||Number of ST children arrived for second time|
|September 2018- March 2019||40||31||0|
|April 2019- March 2020||53||35||1|
|September 2020- March 2021||20||19||1|
|April 2021- March 2022||76
|April 2022- August 2022||50||43||5|