Even as Women and Child Development Minister Umashree announced that 40 new anganwadis would be set up at D.J. Halli, and the existing 18 anganwadis repaired to identify malnourished children and provide them nutrition, residents of the locality emphasise the need to spread awareness about what malnourished children are entitled to, while also ensuring efficient delivery of services.

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan visited D.J. Halli on Saturday to identify places where the 40 anganwadis could be set up. Residents brought to his notice the lack of basic facilities in the area and efficient mechanism for delivery of services.

At the public health centre, residents complained about the irregular supply of medicines and non-availability of doctors, especially after noon. Mr. Lakshminarayan promised that doctors and lab technicians would be appointed on contract. “We will also ensure that there is continuous supply of medicines.”

Mumtaz Banu whose seven-month-old child, Zeenat, has been identified as malnourished, said, “The only thing we get from the anganwadis is eggs and milk. As my husband has fractured his hip, we had no income over the past few months and we are not able to provide the right kind of nutrition to our child.”

Another parent, Farida F., said her 10-year-old, Kulsum, was only 14 kg. She claimed to be unaware of the benefits offered to malnourished children and added that no anganwadi worker had visited her house.

Murugamma, mother of six-year-old Meghala, a malnourished child who died of pneumonia, said, “I want to ensure that what happened to my child should not happen to anyone else.”

As per BBMP records, out of 486 children examined over the past year, 196 were identified as children with severely acute malnutrition (SAM), 112 fell under the moderately malnourished category. However, the BBMP claims that currently there are only 91 SAM children and 38 moderately malnourished. “Out of 308 malnourished children, 179 children have moved to the normal category,” a BBMP health official said.

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