The Tamil Nadu Health Department will be supplying 4,000 doses of Vitamin A to Kerala to tackle malnutrition among children aged between 6 and 60 months.

This followed a specific request made during a meeting of Tamil Nadu and Kerala Health officials at Palakkad on Thursday.

Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan told reporters here on Friday that the State Immunisation Officer had been requested for the doses, which would be sourced from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). Another set of 1,000 doses of Vitamin A would also be procured for children residing in 16 villages of Coimbatore on the inter-State border.

The doses would be sent to Kerala by next week. Administration of Vitamin A in the Coimbatore villages would be taken at the same time as on the other side of the border.

Child mortality

The Kerala officials, he said, asked for the Vitamin A doses following an increase in child mortality rates in the border districts. Nearly 25 infant deaths were reported last year from Agali, a tribal village in Attappadi taluk of Palakkad district.

Almost all the children, who had died, were less than five months old. Asphyxia, pneumonia, preterm births, and respiratory disorders were recorded as major reasons for the deaths of infants.

He said that half of the total 14 Health Unit Blocks in Coimbatore district shared a border with Kerala.

These blocks have eight primary health centres and 11 health sub-centres, all of which have been put on alert and told to look out for increase in child mortalities.

The total population of these 16 village panchayats was 19,173 with 863 children in the targeted age group of 6-60 months.

“As of now, there are no infant deaths in Coimbatore. However, the Village Health Nurses have been asked to step up their surveillance in their areas. Even though malnutrition is not a communicable disease, we are taking adequate precautions,” Mr. Damodharan said.

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