Severe malnutrition, anaemia reported among children of Wayanad tribal hamlets

Neenu Mohan 

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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 patientsNumber of ST childrenNumber of ST children arrived for second time
September 2018- March 201940310
April 2019- March 202053351
September 2020- March 202120191
April 2021- March 202276

April 2022- August 202250435

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