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NRCs Take The Lead to Combat Malnutrition Among Children in Sundargarh

Sundargarh, November 24, 2022: “I was concerned as my 2 year old daughter was underweight. As advised by the Anganwadi Didi, I came here for the treatment of my child. The doctors have given her medicines after conducting various tests. She is also provided a healthy diet at this centre. Now her appetite and overall health is improving,” says Binita Magar from Barpali village in Hemgir block of Sundargarh district.

Binita, the mother of an undernourished child, had taken her kid for treatment at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), in District Headquarter Hospital, Sundargarh, after the child was identified with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) condition.

Anis Tharminz of Jhariatoli village under Nuagaon block in the district has a similar story to share. “My son was weak and frail. I took him to NRC Rourkela where I stayed with him for 15 days during which he was given various medicines and nutritional care. They routinely measured his weight and height. He is healthier now,” narrates Anis, the father of another under nourished child.

Like the kids of Anis and Binita, children in Sundargarh District symptomatic of SAM condition, are being given necessary treatment and nutritional food at the NRCs in Sundargarh, Rourkela and Bonai under the aegis of the National Health Mission (NHM). Regular health check-up is also done to assess change in the children’s condition during their stay at the centres.

Till October 2022, a total of 3,723 children have been benefitted by the special health and care services provided at the NRCs located in the Sundargarh District Headquarters Hospital, Govt Hospital Rourkela and the Sub Divisional Hospital at Bonai.

“Children having significant disproportionate height and weight ratio are categorized under SAM. Similarly, measurement of the arm circumference also gives indication of their nutritional challenges. Malnutrition makes the young ones vulnerable to various diseases and disorders,” informs Chief District Medical and Public Health Officer (CDM & PHO) Dr. Saroj Kumar Mishra.

“Any deficiency in the nutrition of children can severely impact their physical and mental growth. In many cases, this can lead to various health issues in the later part of life thus affecting their productivity. The NRCs in Sundargarh are playing an important role in the identification and nutritional rehabilitation of children suffering from malnutrition in the district”, adds Dr Mishra.

All the three NRCs in the district are equipped with 10 beds each with doctors, health workers, nutrition experts to extend necessary health services to the beneficiary children.

“Following admission at the NRC, vital indexes of the children like weight, height and arm circumference are measured and recorded. Doctors also conduct their pathological tests. Based on the reports, their treatment and nourishment plan commences. Moreover, mothers at the centre are counselled on the children’s diet plan and care when the child returns home,” says Sasmita Panda, nutrition expert at the NRC Sundargarh.

In Sundargarh district, 35 Mobile Health Teams are working under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) to identify children suffering from SAM, with help from Anganwadi workers. Moreover, symptomatic children are also identified during the Mamata Divas (VHSND) at the Anganwadi Centres and referred to the nearest nutrition rehabilitation centres. The children admitted at the NRCs are sent back home after registering an improvement in their health.

Along with malnutrition, children having congenital issues and deformities are also given treatment at the NRCs. The District Mineral Foundation, DMF Sundargarh is extending financial support for the programme across NRCs.

The District Administration Sundargarh is also running a special nutrition initiative under which Ragi (Millet) Laddu and Spirulina Chikki are distributed among small children through Anganwadi Centres in order to fulfil their nutritional requirements.

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