SC ST children are the worst hit: Malnutrition survey in Karnataka

This is a study I was involved in

Malnourishment: children of SC, ST families worst-hit

A group of NGOs conducted a survey in 11 districts

In the wake of the Department of Women and Child Development acknowledging that there are 72,000 severely malnourished children in the State, a group of NGOs conducted a survey of malnourished children in 11 districts.

According to the study, the worst-affected are children from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe families where parents worked on daily wages.

The study, which aimed at studying the conditions of the children, their access to health, childcare and anganwadi services, found that 48 of the 311 children from 334 families suffered from cerebral palsy and mental retardation, said E. Premdas, convener of Janarogya Andolana Karnataka (JAAK), one of the NGOs that conducted the study.

‘Only 14 days of work’

“Nearly 84 per cent of the families surveyed have not received work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and 43 per cent have not received rations through the public distribution system. The 14 families who got work got only 14 days of work on an average under the MNREGA,” Mr. Premdas said.

Forty-two per cent of the total number of children and 80 per cent of children with disabilities did not have access to anganwadis, he added.

Discrimination

“Another important aspect that the study found was that children with mental illnesses are not admitted to anganwadis and Dalit children are discriminated against in anganwadis,” he said.

While 22 per cent of the severely malnourished children did not receive food at all under Integrated Child Development Services scheme, the worst-affected were children with the “double burden” of disability and severe malnourishment.

Bad food

It was also found that 47 per cent of the children were not eating the packet food given in anganwadis as it was not good. Most of the mothers, who were asked to rate the food on a scale of 0 to 100, rated the food at 30, he explained.

Over 50 investigators from Right to Food Campaign – Karnataka (RFC) and Samajika Parivarthana Janadolana apart from JAAK were involved in the study.


  • ‘48 of the 311 children surveyed suffered from cerebral palsy, mental retardation’
  • ‘Nearly 84 per cent of the 334 families surveyed have not received work under MNREGA’

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