Sunday October 21, 2018

Survey: Improvement in child malnutrition in India

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The latest data regarding the status of nutrition in India’s nine poorest states reveals that most states have been successful in reducing the number of underweight children over the last decade. On the other hand, the scenario regarding child stunting has given mixed results. On one hand, Bihar and Uttarakhand have improved on all aspects, Uttar Pradesh has degraded on all of them.

children-malnutrition-ARTICLEThe Office of the Registrar General of India released the results of the Clinical, Anthropometric and Biochemical (CAB) survey, which was conducted in 2014, this week. This survey was conducted as a part of the Annual Health Survey, which collects health information from a representative sample of every district in Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand–India’s eight Empowered Action Group (EAG) states– and Assam. In an exclusive survey, the CAB collected district-level data on key anthropometric indicators like child stunting, child wasting and children underweight.

This data was last collected in 2005-06 in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) III. While NFHS III and CAB were conducted on different samples, the results are to be representative at the state level. An analogy between the NFHS and CAB reveals that eight of the nine states were successful to quite an extent in reducing the proportion of underweight children; Uttar Pradesh was the odd one out, where the proportion actually rose slightly over the last decade.

These revelations come in the backdrop of the NDA government’s turnabout over the release of the Rapid Survey of Children (RSOC), a nationwide sample survey instructed by the previous government and supervised by UNICEF. The RSOC revealed positive results in all child health indicators, but the results were initially kept secret by the new government and was later made public after media reported of leaked findings.

The RSOC’s findings on other child anthropometric indicators like child wasting and child stunting are comparatively more positive than the results gained from CAB. The RSOC showed improvements in all CAG states on child stunting, the CAB showed positive results in only five states– Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Odisha and Uttarakhand. Only four states– Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand– showed positive results on the parameters of child wasting. Results of CAB confirm the findings of the RSOC, that girls were more likely to be underweight than boys in 2005-06 but 2014 results are vice-versa, where boys are slightly more likely to be underweight than girls.

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Ebola Increases The Number of Orphans in DRC: UNICEF

WHO reports progress is being made in limiting the spread of the deadly virus in some areas.

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Ebola, UNICEF. congo, DNA
A boy runs past a dispenser containing water mixed with disinfectant, east of Mbandaka, DRC. VOA

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports a growing number of children in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo orphaned by the Ebola outbreak in the region are at risk of stigmatization and abandonment.

UNICEF reports a number of children have died from the disease. Others, it says, have lost one or both parents to Ebola or have been left to fend for themselves while their parents are confined in Ebola treatment centers.

UNICEF spokesman, Christophe Boulierac, says his and other aid agencies so far have identified 155 children who have been orphaned or separated from their parents with no one to care for them. He says these children are extremely vulnerable.

Ebola Congo, WHO
Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

“Children who lose a parent due to Ebola are at risk of being stigmatized, isolated or abandoned, in addition to the experience of losing a loved one or primary caregiver.”

Boulierac says UNICEF worries about the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of these orphaned and separated children. He says his agency is tailoring its assistance programs to meet the specific needs of each individual child.

“For instance, a new-born who has lost his mother has different needs than a school-aged child. Our support to an orphaned or unaccompanied child typically includes psycho-social care, food and material assistance, and support to reintegrate into school,” Boulierac said.

Ebola, WHO, UNICEF
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Ebola was declared on August 1 in the DRC’s conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces. This is the 10th outbreak in the DRC since Ebola was first identified in 1976. Latest estimates by the World Health Organization find 147 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in the eastern part of the country, including 97 deaths.

Also Read: Progress Has Been Made in Containing Ebola In Congo: WHO

WHO reports progress is being made in limiting the spread of the deadly virus in some areas. But, it warns the epidemic is far from over and much work to combat the disease lies ahead. (VOA)