Survey has identified 282 malnourished children in 26 slums

World Vision, a development and advocacy organisation, has implemented a project to tackle child malnutrition in Coimbatore since January. It has been taken up in collaboration with Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a Central Government-sponsored social welfare scheme.

The organisation, which has consultative status with UNESCO and partnerships with UN agencies such as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO), undertook a survey in 26 urban slums in the district, which revealed a child malnutrition rate of 45 per cent, according to K. Vetriselvan John, Programme Manager (Coimbatore), World Vision.

The survey was undertaken at Ukkadam, Chaitrmanraj Nagar, Periyar Nagar, Chettiar Thottam, Indira Nagar, Sowripalayam, Venkidapuram and VH Road.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Thursday, he said that a total of 282 children in these slums have been identified as either severely or moderately malnourished. Through this project, for which Rs.75 lakh has been allotted for this year, the children would be given additional nutritious food at 20 centres run by ICDS.

“The objective is to increase the weight of these children and ensure their health becomes normal for their age within two years’ time.”

Further, the parents of these children were also being given economic assistance worth Rs. 17,000 each. This initiative, being taken up at a total cost of Rs.60 lakh, was intended to help these families become self-sustaining through entrepreneurial activities.

Of the 222 projects run by World Vision in India, 96 were focussed on tackling child malnutrition as the country was home to nearly half of the world’s malnourished children. Of the 96, eight projects were in Tamil Nadu, he added.

Further, Mr. Vetriselvan John said that World Vision was also organising motivational programmes for government officials working this sector.

It held a stakeholders meet here on Thursday involving NGOs, schools ICDS, community based organisations and Government officials to discuss the development of Kangayam Area Development Programme under way at Avinashi and Annur Blocks.

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