Social Welfare department's special initiative for severely malnourished children
Social Welfare department in association with the Darrang district administration
MANGALDAI: Social Welfare department in association with the Darrang district administration, on Thursday inaugurated the Community-based Management of Acute Malnourished (CMAM) children programme, aimed at fighting severe malnourishment among the child population through involvement of ground-level community volunteers and primary caregivers.
Speaking at the inaugural event, Director of Social Welfare department Bibhash Modi, while expressing concern over the large number of malnourished children in the country in general and Assam in particular, lauded the efforts of the various government agencies in fighting the menace of malnourishment through novel methods and measures such as CMAM, rather than relying solely on traditional ones which did not bear fruits as was initially expected. Modi further exuded confidence that involving the community-level caregivers in the fight (against malnourishment) would help the government spread information on proper nutritional practices to the grassroots.
Darrang Deputy Commissioner Prabhati Thaosen, among other guests speaking about the goals of the above programme, stated that such measures would go a long way in achieving a malnourishment- free Assam in future. The senior bureaucrat also appealed to the ground-level workers to work with all heart and dedication in identifying malnourished children and take the necessary step in mitigating the same, while assuring them of all support from the district administration.
Dr. Shweta Sharma, State Nutrition Specialist, and Dr. Sandip Seth, Consultant, UNICEF CMAM, also gave valuable inputs on the uniqueness of the above-mentioned programme.
As per protocols of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme, the community volunteers and caregivers of the child are trained in proper nutritional habits, hygiene and breast-feeding practices. The child requiring immediate attention are provided with emergency nutritional supplement in the form of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) for 8-12 weeks and medicines to treat any illnesses such as diarrhoea and edema which are commonly found to afflict many severe acute malnutrition (SAM) affected children.
According to several government and non-governmental surveys, more than 80 lakh (8 million) children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in India, accounting for one-third of wasted children in the world. Also, according to a study, a SAM child is 11.6 times more likely to die than a healthy child. Therefore, without urgent and dedicated measure such as CMAM, the country might face a heart-wrecking human tragedy in the decades to come.
Apart from Social Welfare Director Modi and Deputy Commissioner Thaosen, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Social Welfare) Pallavi Kachari were also present in the inaugural event.