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Archive for January, 2012


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80% of Kids Below Five Are Malnourished In Bihar

PM Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said levels of under-nutrition in the country were “unacceptably high” despite impressive GDP growth, and did not hesitate in accepting that malnutrition is a national shame.The pronouncement resonates in the state even though several health indicators have shown an upward trend, including high vaccination percentage, for which chief minister Nitish Kumar became the first recipient of the Gates Vaccine Innovation Award

Though several initiatives have been launched to address malnutrition, particularly among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women, Bihar accounts for nearly 58% malnutrition among children, which is above the national average of 46%. The situation gets compounded as 80% of children below five years of age are malnourished. Again, around 2/3rd women in child bearing age are malnourished in the state, the highest in the country. The figures entail a simple and clear message – a greater effort is required to remove the malady.

High incidence of malnutrition among children can be attributed to several factors which include low intake of nutritious food, non-availability of quality health services, absence of adequate community workers, low institutional delivery and non-access to cheap medicines. These apart, social practices such as early marriage and pregnancy and lack of breastfeeding, too, contribute to higher malnutrition rate in the state. There are other hindrances, too, that include low birth weight babies, non-spacing of children and anaemia among women.

However, state health department has initiated several measures recently to combat malnutrition. Says health secretary Sanjay Kumar, “A three-pronged strategy has been unveiled in the state to combat malnutrition.”

First, he said, a 30-bed nutritional rehabilitation centre (NRC) is running in all the 38 districts of the state, primarily focusing on acute malnourished children. Second, programmes are being run under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), run by the department of social welfare, which include those aiming to change behavioural patterns related to early marriage, non-spacing of children and lack of breastfeeding.

Third, the health department has launched micronutrient programmes, which include providing vitamin A capsules and iron supplements, improved diet for pregnant women along with advocating the benefits of consumption of iodized salt. The programme running at every health sub-centre across the state aims to counter malnourishment which is a major challenge facing the state, admits Kumar.

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A Big Thank You to Sunil Sinha!

Paper Kite Children’s Foundation would like to extend a big thank you to Sunil Sinha for his generous donation of $2000!

Originally from Bihar, Sunil understands first-hand how important it is for organizations like Paper Kite to provide funding for the basic necessities and social programs promoting children’s education and health in Bihar.

Sunil had wanted to be a part of this year’s Paper Kite Team heading to Bihar in February, but is unable to go. In a gesture of immense kindness and generosity,  Sunil donated the money he was going to use to fund his trip to Paper Kite. In addition, Sunil has also shown tremendous support for our organization by trying to secure resources to assist our team in purchasing items for the orphanages once the team arrives in Bihar.

Thank you so much Sunil for your support and helping us meet our goal!

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Hundreds of Malnourished Children Suffering from AFP in Bihar

Hundreds of children in Bihar’s East Champaran district bordering Nepal, have been found suffering from Acute Flaccid Paralysis due to malnutrition, officials said on Thursday.

Officials said that 442 children in the district were found suffering from AFP.

“AFP in children was detected when the United Nations Children’s Fund sent stool samples of 542 children of the district to Luckhnow for test,” the official said.

Dr Anil Kumar Singh,a district official, said that AFP in children is caused by malnutrition. District civil surgeon Dr Kameshwar Mandal said that during the polio immunisation campaign, some children were reportedly found to be suffering from paralysis.

Earlier this year, the State government launched a special programme addressing malnutrition in children. The programme was rolled out at every health sub-centre at each village across the state, with focus on removing malnutrition among children, young girls and pregnant women.

Latest government data has said that Bihar accounts for 58 per cent malnutrition among children which is above the national average of 46 per cent.

AFP is a clinical manifestation characterised by weakness or paralysis and reduced muscle tone without other obvious cause.

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